Cleckheaton are in real danger of slipping into the North One East relegation zone following last Saturday’s disappointing 43-41 defeat at bottom side Consett.
An indisciplined performance once again proved costly for Cleckheaton on their first ever trip to Amethyst Park and defeat leaves them just four points clear of third-bottom Bridlington with three matches remaining.
Consett played with the wind at their backs in the first half and onlookers could be forgiven for confusing which side was already down and which side was fighting for survival, as Cleck trailed 14-0 after less than 10 minutes.
Cleckheaton eventually got a foothold inside the opposition 22 as the front row trio powered forward, with props Andy Piper and Paul Turner making good ground before Ben Thrower forced his way over the line for an unconverted try.
Consett’s Nick Cook extended his team’s lead to 17-5 with the first of five successful penalty kicks.
Midway through the half a neat kick from Dale Breakwell found Danny Booth who offloaded to Mike Swetman for a score in the corner.
A Consett kick through found Henry Race quickest to react and he went in for his second try of the game. Cook, who ended with a 100 per cent record with the boot, landed the conversion.
Another gift of points courtesy of needless foul play from Cleckheaton was gratefully accepted by Consett, who led 27-10 at the break.
Cleckheaton’s half-time team talk seemed to have effect and a penalty allowed Breakwell to kick to the corner. The line-out drill was solid, as was Ryan Piercy’s marshalling of the ball at the back of the maul, which allowed him to crash over for a converted try.
A no-arm tackle from Jack Seddon gifted Cook another three points but Booth then latched onto a Breakwell kick for his 12th try of the season. Breakwell’s conversion narrowed the deficit to 30-24.
Moments later, quick hands down the right flank by Ollie Depledge put Mikey Hayward across in the corner for his 12th try of the campaign and when Breakwell added a towering kick from the touchline, Cleck had a slender lead.
Consett were again assisted by Cleck indiscipline, which leaked another three points and a converted try then put the home side 40-31 ahead.
Coach Thiu Barnard moved Mike Swetman to outside centre and it paid off as he crashed over. Breakwell added the conversion and then kept his composure to hammer over a long-range goal to edge Cleck 41-40 ahead with 90 seconds to play.
All that remained was for Cleckheaton to secure the restart but the pack did not organise themselves in time for a short kick off and Consett tapped the ball back.
Ben Thrower tried to wrestle a ball from a Consett player but conceded a penalty and the kick sailed over from 40 metres out and Cleck had thrown away three league points which could be decisive at the end of the season.
Cleckheaton need to put everything into the remaining three games, starting at home to Morley on Saturday.