Cleckheaton produced an excellent display to record a 24-19 win away to York last Saturday as they advanced to the Yorkshire Cup third round.
Mikey Hayward led the way with a hat-trick of tries, the latter of which came late in the game as the Moorenders secured a dramatic victory.
Both sides fielded a mixture of first and second team players, with youngsters Ben Etchells, Callum Green, Henry Iwanejko, Charlie McGovern and Stephen Noble all making their first team debuts for Cleck with veteran Jarrad Toulson also included.
James Wilson took up the scrum half position and Ronan Evans returned at stand off after several weeks out.
Matt Wood joined Josh Malkinson in the second row, behind front three of Will Denham, Niall Jackson and Iwanejko, leaving Josh Clough, Matt Deighton and Josh Plunkett to complete the eight.
York started strongly and took an early lead with an unconverted try, when the dancing feet of Sam Elliott sliced through Cleckheaton’s defence.
The visitors got into their stride and Martin Woodhead made a number of strong jaunts up the wing before Hayward hit a nice line on the inside which Matty Piper spotted to put his centre partner through the gap and over for his first try.
Evans added the conversion to put Cleckheaton 7-5 ahead after 20 minutes.
The lead was short-lived as York showed their pace with an attack down Cleck’s left, winger and fullback combining at pace for George Davies to score. Elliot converted to edge them ahead.
Just before half-time Hayward split York’s defence to grab his second try as the sides changed round level at 12-12.
Cleckheaton had a to withstand a period of intense pressure when Charlie McGovern (deliberate knock on) and Josh Plunket (raising the legs) were both shown yellow cards within the space of four minutes but despite the numeric advantage York were kept at bay.
Jack Bickerdike switched to scrum-half and Cleckheaton began to apply the pressure, making good ground into York’s territory, with Jack Seddon adding spark from off the bench.
Piper worked hard all game and one carry proved too strong for York’s defence as he stormed over for a try to make it 17-12.
Cleckheaton were in the ascendency but when the ball was turned over by York, winger Harry Jinks found himself in open space to run in from the halfway line and the successful conversion saw York lead 19-17.
It was a disappointing turn around for Cleck who had defended superbly when down to 13 men only to concede a soft try.
Cleckheaton took the game to York with renewed vigour and Malkinson made good headway from a line out catch before Evans floated a crossfield kick into the outstretched hands of Hayward, who brought the ball under control to complete his hat-trick and put the visitors into the next round.
Evans converted the try from the touchline with a kick that barely cleared the crossbar but the success was cheered roundly by the Moorend faithful who had made the trip.
This was a hard fought, determined performance from Cleckheaton, who kept going for the full 80 minutes.
The second team players that took the field all played with commendable vigour.
Cleckheaton’s reward is a trip to Wharfedale in the third round, while they get back to North East One action this Saturday with a trip to 10th placed Driffield.
A players and supporters’ bus will leave the club at 11.15am for a 2.15pm kick off.