Cleckheaton earn bragging rights with impressive win over Morley
The recent rest week appears to have done Cleckheaton a power of good as they followed up their runaway win over Bradford & Bingley with a terrific attacking display once again in a 37-15 win in another West Yorkshire derby.
This was the big derby as local rivals Morley were the visitors to Moorend and Cleckheaton responded to their challenge as they ran in six tries to move back up into fifth place in North One East.
In wet conditions they had Morley on the back foot from an early stage and were soon ahead as Dale Breakwell’s kick was gathered by Mike Hayward who was then able to race in for his eighth try of the season.
The early progress was interrupted when Jack Seddon had to leave the field with a nasty head wound that required hospital treatment. Dom Flanagan was the replacement, but was defending after coming on as Morley exerted their first pressure, which resulted in a try from prop Greg Jones that was converted by Richard Knowles to give the visitors a 7-5 lead.
When Niall Jackson was shown a yellow card on 24 minutes for an offside offence it was looking tough for the home team, but Morley did not take advantage of their extra man.
In fact it was Cleck who scored next, great passing in midfield between Dale Breakwell and Dom Brambani putting Brad Marsden in space to score in the corner.
Knowles kicked a penalty to level the game up, but Cleckheaton regained the lead before half-time when although Joe Flanagan was held short of the line Oliver Depledge picked up to score and Breakwell added the conversion to make it 17-10.
The good work continued into the second half as four minutes in Tom Hainsworth Hayward over for an unconverted try.
Morley were still battling and only a great tackle put their winger into touch when they threatened a comeback try.
Breakwell landed a penalty to take the lead out to 15 points, however, and on 67 minutes, Josh Plunkett and Andy Piper combined to send Niall Jackson racing for the line. He was tackled just short, but Richard Piper followed up to touch down for a try converted by Breakwell via the post.
Another try followed when Joe Flanagan made a great break down the middle and Piper took the ball on to force his way over for his second try.
More pressure followed, but Morley survived then took advantage of a run of penalties to finish with some spirit. After Piper was sin-binned to leave the hosts to finish the game with 14 men the Maroons scored a consolation try as Declan Brereton went over on the final play of the game.
It was a terrific win for Cleckheaton against a Morley side that started the day ahead of them in the table. A dominant pack was the key with line-out and scrummage domination.
More of the same will now be sought going forward with Cleckheaton still right in the mix for promotion as they are only six points behind leaders Driffield. This Saturday they travel to Pocklington to face a team that surprisingly beat previous table toppers Ilkley last Saturday, kick-off 2.15pm.