Match Report: Cleckheaton 31 – 13 Huddersfield YMCA
Cleckheaton claim bragging rights in local derby
Cleckheaton got one hand on the John Bower Trophy, which is a cup contested between Cleckheaton and Huddersfield YMCA, whenever league status allows. The trophy is named in memory of the prop who had spells with both clubs until he was tragically taken from us, a number of years ago whilst in his early 40’s, following a short illness. The fate of the cup, which Is currently held by YMCA, will not become certain until the reverse league fixture takes place in March. On a day for remembrance, both sides observed a minute’s silence before the game to commemorate Armistice Day.
When the action began it was Cleckheaton that applied all the earlier pressure but the visitors’ defence proved solid and it was YMCA that got the first points on the board via a penalty goal from Gavin Stead. Cleckheaton responded well and made camp in YMCA’s half before Jack Bickerdike fed Mike Swetman from the back of the ruck and the big stand-off, produced a big hand-off, which made him unstoppable as he powered over the defence for a try. The same player converted his own score to put Cleckheaton 4 points in front. Five minutes later, YM reduced the arrears to a single point with another penalty goal from Stead. Cleckheaton continued to press with Jack Seddon, Josh Plunkett, Luke Pearson and Ryan Piercy making yards and some jinking runs from wingers Mikey Hayward and Pat Foulstone looked promising for Cleckheaton but did not lead to points on the board. Six minutes from the end of the first half, Swetman crashed over from short range for his second of the day, which he also converted. Referee, Thomas Falkingham, blew to end the first period with Cleckheaton in front 14 - 6.
Cleckheaton started the second half where they had left off. Front three of Paul Turner, Ben Thrower and Andy Piper put in good shifts and put YM on the back foot and Man of the Match, Brad Marsden, worked tirelessly in the loose. It was the back line however that would make the in roads for the Moorenders. Centre Matt Piper had carried hard all day and another similar attack looked to be on offer but instead a delayed pass to James Wilson on a well timed run, fooled YM’s defence and put Cleckheaton’s fullback through for the home team’s 3rd try. Swetman once again obliged with the extras.
A rare defensive lapse from Cleckheaton, allowed YM through for a relatively soft try but it was nevertheless well taken by Gavin Stead. Who converted to ultimately score all of his team’s points as the scoreboard moved on to 21-13. Cleckheaton coach Thiu Barnard, introduced fresh legs to his team’s campaign, with James Crowther, Neil Cherryholme and Ronan Evans replacing Thrower, Plunkett and Liam Darville. Crowther and Cherryholme got stuck in immediately and Mike Swetman had the chance to score again with a penalty goal, which he duly slotted through the uprights. It was Evans however, that came off the bench and onto the score sheet, with a great supporting run that put him under the sticks for Cleckheaton’s bonus point try. This was despite the fact that Cleckheaton were reduced to 14 men as Piercy was sin binned 5 minutes earlier under the new high tackle rules. Mike Swetman maintained his 100% goal kicking record when he added the extras to bring his personal tally to 21 points and the score to final margin of 31-13.
A good performance and confidence building win for Cleckheaton to move them to mid table in North One East. There was also further joy for the club as Will Denham scored a late winner for the 2nd Team to defeat Roundhegians 34-31 and the 3rd Team also had a very healthy 54-0 victory over Heath 3rds. There is no First XV game this weekend but the 2nds entertain Yarnbury at Moorend. 2:15pm kick off.
Some additional photos, taken by Bev Clough are available on her Facebook page are well worth a look. You can find them here:-
Bev Clough Photography Facebook Page