Cleckheaton reach five year high after derby success over YMCA
Cleckheaton completed the league double over Huddersfield YMCA last Saturday as they returned from Laund Hill with maximum points from a 27-15 victory.
The win also saw Cleckheaton move up to second place in North One East — their highest placing in five years.
Cleck made one change from the previous week with Brad Marsden returning at lock and Ben Etchells dropping to the bench.
YMCA played with a gusting wind in the first half and took a shock lead on four minutes when good ball retention drove Cleckheaton back and from a driving maul they crossed for an unconverted try.
This stirred the visitors into urgent action against a YM team that hadn’t recorded a win all season partly due to some well documented off field issues.
Dale Breakwell floated a fine kick towards the left wing and Mikey Hayward offloaded the ball to Jack Seddon who romped over for his sixth try of the season to level matters after 20 minutes.
Olly Depledge and James Wilson combined and Hayward cut back inside to record his 13th try of the season with the conversion putting Cleck 12-5 ahead, although YMCA reduced the deficit with a penalty goal soon after.
Hayward crossed for his second try of the game after good work from Tom Lillycrop and Seddon, the conversion fell just short from a difficult angle but Cleck were 18-7 in front.
Cleckheaton were reduced to 14 men when Ben Thrower was yellow carded for failing to clear the ruck. Archie Rika-Rayne came on and Joey Carley was sacrificed for this period either side of half-time.
Early in the second half YM mounted a concerted attack and battered the Cleckheaton line. Jack Marshall tried to intercept and was deemed to have deliberately knocked the ball on and he was dispatched to the sin bin and the referee awarded the penalty try after 50 minutes.
Brad Marsden was securing plenty of line out ball in the difficult conditions and made some surging runs as did flanker Lillycrop.
Cleckheaton prop Andy Piper was then pulled out for a high tackle and became the third player to spend time in the bin on 62 minutes.
YMCA hooker Hill was playing well but he was the next to incur the wrath of the referee on 66 minutes and he was dispatched to the sin bin too.
Cleckheaton finally got back on track after being on the back foot for much of the second period when Tom Breakwell crossed for his second try of the season after a maul had rumbled 20 metres downfield and the visitors had secured a bonus point, while extending their lead to 22-15.
Two minutes later, and with Marshall restored to the field, he showed terrific pace to blast outside his opposite number before passing to Seddon who crossed for his seventh try of the season as they moved 12 points ahead.
There was no further scoring and referee brought an end to a game which was spoilt by the gusting wind.
Cleckheaton were not at their very best but still ran in five tries and a fifth win in a row and other results going in the club’s favour moved them up to second place ahead of Saturday’s visit of Moortown to Moorend (kick off 2.15pm).