Cleckheaton defeat marred as Piercy sustains injury
Cleckheaton suffered a second successive defeat in North One East as they went down 27-17 away to a Pocklington side, who had recorded just two wins before last Saturday’s encounter.
Defeat saw Cleckheaton slip to sixth place in the table but the game was marred by a serious injury to Ryan Piercy.
Cleckheaton travelled to Pocklington looking to record only their second win on the road but saw Tom Austin ruled out by an injury he picked up in the defeat against Morley the previous week, to be replaced by Brad Marsden.
Pocklington went on the attack from the start as they dominated the scrums, rucks and mauls and it came as no surprise when Cleckheaton conceded a penalty giving Christian Pollack a simple kick at goal.
Cleckheaton had little possession in the early stages but an accurate cross field kick looked to have put Mikey Hayward into space but he was thwarted by the referee’s whistle.
Pocklington extended their lead to 10-0 when good support play led to a try from Richardson, converted by Pollack.
Things didn’t improve for Cleckheaton when a promising move broke down and Pocklington swept downfield and the strong home pack drove over the try line to extend the lead to 15-0.
Niall Jackson and Archie Rika Rayne were replaced by Chris Piper and Ben Thrower to stabilise the scrum but it was Pocklington who scored a third try as Pollack strode through a huge gap in the defensive line while Ollie Depledge was having treatment. Pollack added the goal and the lead was considerable at 22-0.
Cleckheaton eventually replied as they won line out ball on the five metre line and Piercy drove over for his third try of the season, Breakwell missed the goal and the visitors trailed 22-5 at half-time.
Early in second half, Joey Carley left the field with an injury to be replaced by Gus Milborne but Cleck won another catch and drive from the line out and Ben Thrower crossed for his fifth try of the season, which Breakwell converted.
Referee Andy Baker suspended play on 58 minutes after Piercy suffered a serious ankle injury and had to be removed by ambulance before the game continued on an adjacent pitch after a 15 minute delay.
Cleckheaton drove downfield with purpose but Matt Piper had the ball stripped by a Pocklington forward, who was off his feet on the blind side of the official, and the swift counter attack down the right led to a try in the corner.
In the melee that followed Tom Breakwell was sent to the sin bin and with eight minutes to go Pocklington led 27-12.
There was a glimmer of hope when Jack Marshall put James Wilson clear and he powered past the final defender for a fine try on 75 minutes.
The last five minutes were very tense as a Pocklington second row was yellow carded to even the numbers up but Cleckheaton couldn’t break through and the referee brought proceedings to an end in the gloom.
Cleckheaton will hope to bounce back when they host Malton & Norton on Saturday.