Cleckheaton ground out a hard-fought 18-12 victory away to Bradford & Bingley last Saturday as they consolidated fifth place in North One East.
Bradley Marsden returned in the second row partnered by Josh Plunkett, while Joey Carley, who was named in the starting 15 had a slight niggle and dropped to the bench and was replaced by Gus Milborne.
Bees kicked off with the wind at their backs and quickly got on the attack but resolute defence kept the hosts at bay.
Cleckheaton won turnover ball in midfield and swept to the right with Wilson and Marshall making ground before Olly Depledge was on hand to touch down in the corner, Dale Breakwell couldn’t add the extras but the visitors led 5-0 after six minutes.
The game was end to end as both Breakwell and Bingley’s Taylor missed penalty kicks.
There was a scuffle on the main stand side on 28 minutes, a penalty was awarded and when Cleckheaton infringed again and another penalty went the Bees way, quick thinking saw Taylor throw a long pass to put Sutcliffe into space and score in the corner. Taylor added the touchline goal to edge Bingley in front.
As half-time approached, both sides had chances to add to the score but it remained 7-5 at the break.
Early in the second half, Cleckheaton worked the ball to the right, Marshall was on the end of a pinpoint kick from Breakwell and he blasted past the last line of defence to score a fine unconverted try in the corner.
While the backs were getting over the whitewash, the Cleckheaton pack were dominant in both attack and defence, flankers Lillicrop and Milborne making the hard yards, while Piper, Jackson and Plunkett put in some thumping tackles.
Bees didn’t help their cause with several unforced handling errors and Cleckheaton capitalised with a third try on 53 minutes.
A booming kick out of defence wasn’t dealt with by the Bees full-back and from the resulting scrum, Jack Seddon picked up at the base, feeding Tom Breakwell who linked with his half-back partner.
He gave a long pass to the wing where Mikey Hayward had plenty to do but he squeezed in near the corner flag for his 11th try of the season to take the score to 15-7.
Dale Breakwell finally adjusted the radar and kicked his first goal of the game, a 35 metre effort after 69 minutes that stretched the lead to 18-7.
Bees now had their best spell of the contest, retaining possession and driving forward only to be met by stout Cleckheaton defence.
Bingley did manage to cross for their second try after good work by the pack up the left hand side. The kick was missed but Bees were within striking distance.
As time was running out, Bees made a final attack down the left wing but a crunching tackle by Depledge forced the ball carrier over the touchline and the referee brought an end to the game.
Cleckheaton worked hard in all phases and deserved the victory which leaves them seven points of leaders Morley.
Kendal will visit Moorend on Saturday when kick off has been put back to 3pm due to a pre game club luncheon taking place.