West 10 Cleckheaton 17

By El Pedro - February 8 2014
West 10 Cleckheaton 17
Try League leaders Cleckheaton became the first team to leave Brinkburn as winners this season - racing out to an early lead in the early stages but then having to hang on as we fought our way back.

It was always going to be a tough afternoon against a team who are running away with North One East, the visitors having all but secured the title with 7 games still to play. It may take a few more weeks before the mathematicians can confirm the trophy is headed to Moorend but everyone else has been contesting second place for quite some time.

 Despite the calibre of the opposition, our home form has been excellent and even going into the game there could be reasonable optimism of a positive outcome.

 The optimism began draining away quite quickly though as we had a disastrous opening 10 minutes. A catch and drive set up an early attacking position from which scrum-half Jack Bickerdike darted over and minutes later left-wing Martin Woodhead made the most of a some space and fought through a couple of tackles to touch down in the corner. Ross Hayden converted both scores for a 14-0 lead inside 9 minutes.

 A penalty from Hayden stretched the lead further on 20 minutes but despite playing into a strong wind blowing straight down the pitch we began to find our feet - enjoying good success with the pick and drive. Our patience and ball retention was rewarded when we pulled a score back on 23 minutes. Good defensive pressure saw a Cleckheaton player tackled in-goal and from the resulting 5 metre scrum we drove the visiting eight back leaving the easiest of touchdowns for Sam Miller.

 Buoyed by the score we continued with the possession game and this began to frustrate the visitors and led to a growing penalty count. Despite a couple of visits to the 22 we couldn’t add to our score, having to turn down at least one usually kickable penalty due to the strength of the wind.

 There had been a number of confrontations after the whistle and with half-time approaching things boiled over once more. Referee Finlay Brown yellow carded Adam Coates and Cleckheaton prop Paul Turner for their part in the melee and, in a huge blow to the visitors, sent off talismanic skipper Richard Piper for punching.

 Facing the rest of the game with a man disadvantage and the wind in their faces the 10 point lead the visitors had suddenly didn’t seem insurmountable.

 However, the wind behind you isn’t always an automatic advantage. Despite using the elements well with our kicking game the lineout fell apart and as a result we couldn’t capitalise on numerous attacking positions. The scrum also began backpedalling and with the tireless Cleckheaton defence making us work for every metre we struggled for clear scoring opportunities.

 Stu Waites did nudge us within 7 points with 10 minutes to go, having initially missed a penalty shot from just to the right of the posts but then succeeding at the second attempt after referee Brown ordered a retake.

 We couldn’t get any closer though and in the end had to settle for a losing bonus point, scant consolation in a game we will feel we had enough possession and territory to win, the set-pieces just letting us down at key times.

 The wild celebrations from the Cleckheaton players at the end showed the value they placed on this result and while they have one foot in the National Leagues already we are still not out of the race for the playoff. Still sitting third we now trail second-place Huddersfield YMCA by 8 points but they have to visit Cleckheaton next week and we travel to West Yorkshire to play them on March 22nd. Before then there is the small matter of a trip to Alnwick and the visits of Wheatley Hills and Sheffield - plenty still to play for then!  

West: Luke Mallinson, Scott Butcher, Andrew Cheslin, Liam Bailey, Peter Youll, Stu Waites, Ryan Painter, Ian Pinchen, Andrew Rollins, Adam Coates , Owen Bennett, Michael Hogan, Dan Boatman [c], Jon Boatman, Sam Miller.

Changes: Davy Tighe, Andrew Turner, Andrew Dixon

Try: Miller
Con: Waites
Pen: Waites

YC: Coates

Cleckheaton: Ross Hayden, James  Wilson, James Marshall, Matt Piper, Martin Woodhead; Michael Piper, Jack Bickerdike; Paul Turner, Ben Thrower, Chris Piper, Ryan Piercy, Grant Turton, Rob Afoa Peterson, Ollie Akroyd, Richard Piper.

Changes: Andy Piper, Alex Dawson, Ollie Depledge.

Tries: Bickerdike, Woodhead
Cons: Hayden 2
Pen: Hayden

YC: Turner
Sent Off: R Piper

Referee: Finlay Brown [Northumberland Society]



West 10 Cleckheaton 17
Official West Hartlepool RFC (IP Logged)
09/02/2014 10:10
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Re: West 10 Cleckheaton 17
Denny Dixon (IP Logged)
09/02/2014 14:56
So near yet so far. Seems Cleckheaton were pleased and relieved to get the result let's hope they do a job on Huddersfield next week then the visit to Huddersfield would be virtually the decider. Not all over yet!!! Been unable to open the site for a couple of days so could not wish the guys good luck - Apologies!!!

Re: West 10 Cleckheaton 17
10/02/2014 09:50
Cleckheaton were indeed whooping and hollering at the end.
Even though our line-out failed in the second half we still should have won this game.
Credit to Cleckheaton for toughing it out [sadly in more ways than one].

Re: West 10 Cleckheaton 17
Rozzy 1 (IP Logged)
10/02/2014 15:52
The wind dominated the game and played a part in those messy line-outs, but why didn't we contest when they had the throw deep in their half later in the game? In that wind surely there was always a chance of a bad throw or a dropped ball.

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