Cleckheaton put in a poor display at windswept Moorend last Saturday as they slipped to a 33-29 defeat against Bridlington in North One East.
Cleck were hoping to overturn a narrow defeat in the reverse fixture in September but is wasn’t to be.
A family medical emergency on Saturday morning made Mike Swetman the only change from last week’s team as Mikey Hayward moved into the centre and Ben Dearing started on the wing.
Cleckheaton went behind from the first scrum of the game as Bridlington attacked down the left and winger Max Towse ran in unopposed after some very indifferent attempts at tackling, a problem which would persist for most of the game. Morrison converted.
Cleck made amends after 10 minutes with a superb rolling maul making 30 metres downfield and when Heeley interfered the Bridlington flanker was sent to the sin bin.
After a quick penalty and several phases Josh Plunkett crossed for a try which Dale Breakwell improved to level the scores before Breakwell added a penalty goal as Cleck led 10-7.
Just four minutes later Morrison was allowed to walk through a gap in the right side of Cleckheaton’s absent defence to score a soft try which he converted to put Brid back ahead.
Jack Seddon was sent to the bin on 30 minutes to put Cleck under more pressure but they held out more in part to Bridlington butchering some clear opportunities when they had the numerical advantage.
The next score came as half-time approached, Breakwell put a smart grubber kick behind the line and Danny Booth was on the spot for his seventh try for the club. Breakwell added the goal to edge Cleck 17-14 in front at the break.
Breakwell fell short with an ambitious penalty from 45 metres early in the second half as the kick fell well short and Bridlington cleared to half way.
A quick throw in by Matt Piper set up a sweeping counter attack and a number of phases later, Joey Carley powered over the line in the left corner for an unconverted try to extend the lead.
Cleckheaton seemingly had the game in their hand but inexplicably everyone ball watched as Bridlington restarted.
An easily catchable ball was left to hit the ground and bounce into the hands of a Bridlington player, with centre Daniel Vannet, scoring a few seconds later. Morrison converted and the visitors were just a point behind.
James Wilson was dispatched to the sin-bin and Bridlington took full advantage of the full-back’s absence by running in two more tries, one converted, in seven minutes to turn the game.
Cleckheaton’s tackling was again a cause for concern and suddenly Bridlington led 33-22 going into the latter stages.
Cleck replied on 78 minutes, as Dearing scored in the right corner and Breakwell converted into the wind, assisted by both post and crossbar.
Cleckheaton had a try bonus and a losing bonus point and as they mounted pressure, Brid lost two men to the sin-bin in their desperation to keep the Moorenders out.
With the final play of the game, Cleckheaton replacement Ben Etchells looked to have got the ball down over the line but referee Gavin Jones deemed it was held up and the whistle blew for full-time.
There were some muted mutterings that Cleckheaton had been denied victory but if the try had been given it would have robbed Bridlington who turned up with more desire and more application and deserved their win.