Seven-up Cleck sparkle to secure first win of season

Cleckheaton v Burnage 'Josh Hall finds a gap in the Burnage defence.'Pic Gerald Christian.
Cleckheaton v Burnage 'Josh Hall finds a gap in the Burnage defence.'Pic Gerald Christian.

Cleckheaton ran in seven tries to register a first win in National Three North and collect a bonus point, defeating bottom side Burnage 44-20.

The Moorenders have had a difficult start to the season and were keen to get off the mark against a side languishing at the foot of the table.

New centre signing Josh Hall, who made his debut in the second half of the previous week’s trip to Lymm, showed his versatility to play at stand-off in place of Michael Piper, who became a father earlier that morning.

Additional new signing Joey Carley also took up a place on the bench.

Cleckheaton got off to the best possible start with lose head prop, Paul Turner, going in for a try inside the first five minutes after good work from the pack. Hall added the conversion.

Tight head prop, Andy Piper then added to the tally of the front row, going over from short range.

The conversion was missed but Hall added a penalty to stretch Cleckheaton’s lead to 15-0 after 15 minutes.

Rhys Evans clawed back three points for Burnage with a penalty but this was to be the only points the visitors would register in the first half.

Despite Hall taking a trip to the sin bin, man-of-the-match Jack Bickerdike scooted over for Cleckheaton’s third try, which Matt Piper converted.

Andy Piper then added his second and Cleckheaton’s fourth, earning the bonus point.

Jack Seddon topped off an excellent first half for the Moorenders with another try, leaving the club’s new electronic scoreboard confirming the home side had a commanding 34-3 lead at the break.

Andy Ashcroft showed that Burnage were not going to capitulate, going over for the visitors’ first try shortly after the restart. Evans added the conversion. Cleckheaton started to play some expansive rugby resulting in a brace of tries for winger Sam Walker.

Cleckheaton let their concentration lapse in the final 10 minutes and Burnage capitalised with two consolation tries for David Hopkins.

The five points Cleckheaton collected from the win will give the team much needed confidence, ahead of Saturday’s trip to Hull.

Josh Malkinson impresses more each week, Sam Walker is in great try scoring form and the latest additions of Josh Hall and Joey Carley have added strength to the squad.

Cleckheaton Kestrels also won last Saturday beating Scunthorpe 21-19 on their trip to Lincolnshire, with Liam Goldthorpe and Tom Brook making a welcome return to the fold after missing much of 2015.

There are a number of players in the second team that have an eye on a first team slot and will continue to state their case as the season progresses.