Unbeaten Cleckheaton ready for big top of table test

Cleckheaton RUFC are set for an early season top-of-the-table clash when they travel to take on Ilkley in North One East on Saturday.

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 9:00 am
Dale Breakwell, who kicked four conversions and a penalty in Cleckheaton’s come from behind victory over Morpeth. Picture: Allan McKenzie

Both teams have made impressive starts to the 2021-22 campaign and boast 100 per cent records going into the match with Ilkley currently sitting joint-top after collecting try bonus points in all three of their fixtures so far and racking up 149 points while conceding just 15.

Cleckheaton will be ready for the big test, however, after they continued their fine opening to the new season with a 36-27 success at home to Morpeth.

They were certainly tested in last Saturday’s match with victory looking a long way off as they trailed 27-10 at one stage in the second half. But the Cleck lads showed great resolve in battling back to score 26 unanswered points to turn the game on its head.

The hosts made a decent enough start with Dale Breakwell trading early penalties with Morpeth’s McKay. They led 10-6 after Josh Plunkett forced his way through several defenders to score the game’s first try and Breakwell added the extras.

Morpeth hit back to lead 13-10 at the break as number eight Olly Dynan raced clear to score under the posts and McKay converted.

A poor start to the second half saw Andy Piper sin-binned for a high tackle and the visitors took advantage of their extra man with Dynan crossing for his scoring and a further try following. With McKay converting both suddenly it was 27-10.

But Cleck dug deep and Andy Piper marked his return to the field with a try after good work by the forwards. Breakwell kicked the conversion and was on target again soon after following Matty Piper’s charge that set up Mike Hayward to score.

Next, Dom Flanhagan ran strongly onto a short pass to score a try on his debut and Breakwell’s goal made it 31-27 on 64 minutes.

Flanaghan sealed the win when he popped up on the left wing to go over for his second try.