Piper treble in first Cleck away triumph

richard piper cleckheaton
richard piper cleckheaton

Old Crossleyans 34

Cleckheaton 41

CLECKHEATON recorded a second successive five-point derby win last Saturday, while picking up a first away success of their North One East campaign.

The Moorenders ran in six tries to Old Crossleyans’ three and it was only the fact home scrum-half Edward Cockroft landed five penalty goals that gave the scoreline a closer look.

No8 Richard Piper was Cleckheaton’s star as he scored a hat-trick of tries, there was a brace from brother Matt Piper, while full-back Ross Hayden also crossed as the Moorenders were clinical with the ball.

Fly-half Iain Gordon capped a fine day for Cleckheaton as he landed four conversions and a penalty as they moved up four places to fifth in the table, while their rivals slipped into the relegation zone.

Cleckheaton raced into a 14-0 lead after just five minutes.

Matt Piper gave them the perfect start, crossing for the opening try inside a minute and Gordon tagged on the conversion.

Hayden then raced over for his try and Gordon’s second goal appeared to put Cleckheaton in control.

However, any thoughts of a comfortable afternoon for the visitors were dashed as Crossleyans battled back through a try from player-coach Chris Jones, converted by Cockroft.

Captain James Wainwright crossed and Cockroft converted to level matters after 13 minutes.

Jack Hammond was sin-binned for the home side but they surprisingly edged in front with Cockroft’s first penalty.

The end-to-end first half continued as Matt Piper put Cleckheaton back in front with a 27th minute try only for Cockroft to land another penalty as the Moorenders indiscipline continued to be punished.

Richard Piper crossed for his first try after 32 minutes, improved by the reliable boot of Gordon, but Cockroft reduced the half-time arrears to just three points with another penalty.

Cleckheaton dominated the early stages of the second half before a brawl errupted which saw Crossleyans No8 Ryan Hammond sent off.

The impressive Joe Giotti gathered the resulting penalty lineout and set up a ruthless rolling maul, which Richard Piper was on the end of to score. Gordon again converted.

Cleckheaton were also reduced to 14 men for a spell when Steve Worsley was sin-binned and two further Cockroft penalties took his personal tally to 19 points and set up an exciting finish.

Cleckheaton had showed some fine attacking play and Gordon tagged on another penalty before Richard Piper ensured the celebratory drinks would be on him by completing his hat-trick to extend the lead to 41-29.

James Kavanagh ensured Crossleyans earned a losing bonus point when he crossed for a last-minute try but it took nothing away from Cleckheaton’s best away display of the season.