Cleck seal first league victory

CLECKHEATON sealed a first win in North one East, defeating Old Crossleyans 14-12.

They dominated territory, with the forwards providing plenty of possession, while all 36 players and the referee should be congratulated on the first class entertainment on view.

Cleckheaton’s set scrum was solid, the lineout efficient with Oliver Akroyd showing he still has much to give on his return to the club.

Newcomer Jack Bickerdike was a constant threat, Ryan Piercy reassumed his best position in the second row and Mark Sergeant, Richard Piper and Steve Worsley were at the heart of things.

The first half was very even with four penalties for the home side from winger Gareth Sweeney and three penalties by Iain Gordon for Cleckheaton, who had the wind advantage after the break.

Gordon missed a penalty chance and several scoring opportunities also went begging but Crossleyans played their full part and the Cleck defence had to be tight to nullify the probings of skipper James Wainwright.

In the 53rd minute Cleckheaton scored the’ only try when hooker Steve Worsley popped up in his now customary position on the wing and sprinted twenty metres for an excellent score.

Both kickers had further chances to seal the game but in the end both defences held firm.

On a day when Cleckheaton fielded four senior sides, all with replacements, the Kestrels (second team) maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a 35-15 success over Barnsley.

Tom Brooke, Liam Goldthorpe, Mark Johnson, Tom Crewe and Craig Blackburn led a terrific defensive effort which repelled the Barnsley pack.

Barnsley led through a disputed drop-goal before Crewe and Mark Johnson linked to send Blackburn racing between the posts.

Mark Johnson was sin-binned and Barnsley landed the penalty before another Blackburn break sent Gareth Lamb over for a second converted try as the Kestrels led at half-time.

Robin Bennett extended the advantage with a penalty but Barnsley responded with a converted try.

Cleck had a nervous spell but another Tom Brooke break up the right saw him release Mark Johnson, who capped a fine game by racing between the posts.

As Barnsley tired, the Kestrels took advantage to score two further tries, with Ricky Motlib and promising Colt Josh White finishing off excellent drives towards the line.

The Kestrels now go into Saturday’s game against local rivals Old Brods full of confidence as they look to extend their unbeaten start.

Cleckheaton’s focus is clearly on player participation and enjoyment with a junior set up staffed by keen volunteers and the club can be congratulated on the way it values and the camaraderie of sporting competition.