Cleckheaton record convincing victory at fortress Moorend
Cleckheaton consolidated second place in North One East thanks to a 31-17 victory over Moortown last Saturday.
The win was Cleck’s eighth out of nine matches at fortress Moorend this season and leaves them six points behind leaders York and five ahead of third placed Driffield.
It was the first match between the sides in a number of years as Tom Austin returned to action after missing six games through injury and Gus Milborne returned to first team action after being unavailable since Christmas.
The home team started brightly and took the lead after just two minutes when prop Andy Piper forced his way over for his fourth try of the season after a line out 10 metres from the line.
In a bizarre passage of play, both the Moortown centres were shown yellow cards on 10 and 12 minutes reducing the visitors to 13 players and moments later the Moortown touchjudge was ordered from the field after offering his opinion to referee Mr Binnie.
Cleckheaton took advantage of the gaps in the back line immediately when right wing Jack Marshall blasted over in the corner for his ninth try of the season after 13 minutes, expertly converted by Dale Breakwell.
Moortown put in some telling runs but the Cleckheaton defence was solid with Jack Seddon and Josh Plunkett putting in big hits, while Tom Austin, Tom Lillycrop and Milborne made the hard yards downfield.
Hooker Ben Thrower was next on the scoreboard when he controlled a maul and crashed over the line on 27 minutes to record his seventh try of the campaign. Breakwell’s conversion attempt struck an upright but Cleck led 17-0.
Moortown opened their account on 39 minutes when the loose head prop found himself in space to score an unconverted try and it was 17-5 at half-time.
Cleckheaton scored their bonus point try on 44 minutes when Seddon got on the end of great break by Austin, who handled twice in the move, to score wide out on the left and Breakwell added a difficult goal.
Moortown applied considerable pressure on the Cleckheaton line and after the home team were penalised, the scrum option was taken and their number 8 picked up at the base to score the visitors second try.
Chris Piper and Archie Rika-Rayne entered the game, replacing Thrower and Niall Jackson.
Cleckheaton put the game to bed on 67 minutes when Olly Depledge intercepted and raced away to score between the posts. Breakwell converted to put the home side into a comfortable 31-10 lead.
Andy Piper then saw the referees yellow card after an adjudged high tackle on 70 minutes but the visitors couldn’t take advantage until a series of scrums close to the Cleck line saw Chris Piper dispatched to the sin bin for not keeping the scrummage straight and the referee awarded the penalty try.
There was just time for another attack by Cleckheaton but a forward pass ended the threat and the game finished with the Moorenders convincing victors.
The bonus point win keeps Cleckheaton in second place and with no league action this week, they return to action with a trip to second-bottom league strugglers West Hartlepool on Saturday February 1 (kick off 2.15pm).