Cleckheaton were always going to be facing a tough encounter when they hosted unbeaten National League Three North leaders, Huddersfield at Moorend last Saturday.
Their task was not made any easier by the unavailability of four regular players, largely through injuries picked up or exacerbated during the previous week’s victory over Firwood Waterloo, and they slipped to a 62-13 defeat.
Captain Richard Piper was among those declared unfit and Luke Pearson was given the captain’s armband, which at 20 years old, makes him one of the youngest to do so for the Cleckheaton club.
Cleckheaton opened the scoring with a Ronan Evans penalty, before Huddersfield’s Tom Owens, who was to prove a handful all afternoon, went in for his side’s first try.
Chris Bell converted and after a missing an early penalty attempt went on to establish a 100 per cent success rate with his next 10 efforts.
Huddersfield extended their lead through Hinchliffe’s try but Evans added a second penalty for Cleckheaton to bring the score back to 14-6.
The eight-point margin did not last long though as Bell added a penalty goal for the visitors before converting a try from Nick Sharpe.
Ryan Piercy was sent to the sin bin with around 10 minutes left in the first period remaining and Huddersfield took advantage when Lewis Workmen was able to squeeze in at the corner for his side’s fourth and bonus point try.
Cleckheaton were not done though and battled hard for field position before Evans put James Wilson through a large gap and the full-back dived between the posts. Evans added the extras but Huddersfield had built a 31-13 lead by half-time.
The second half proved gloomy for Cleckheaton as a layer of fog descended on Moorend making it difficult to see from one end of the field to the other.
Huddersfield were responsible for all the scoring as Cleckheaton battled hard but could not contain the visitors.
Huddersfield added a penalty and another four converted tries, with Conway getting two and Rhodes and Hoyle adding one each. Bell converted all of them to seal a convincing win.
Cleckheaton battled hard throughout and can be proud of the effort they put in against an opposition determined to bounce straight back into National League Two.
There were some notable hits as the Moorenders tried to keep Huddersfield out, with Brad Marsden and Jack Seddon both drawing gasps from the crowd.
Mark Chivers picked up man-of-the-match for consistency with his line-out throwing and working tirelessly throughout.