Match Report: York 19 – 24 Cleckheaton
By Neil Gillan
Hayward Hat-Trick Sees Cleckheaton Advance in the Yorkshire Cup
Cleckheaton hit the road to Clifton Park for the second time in two weeks, hoping to reverse the result of the previous game. Both sides fielded a mixture of first and second team players, with youngsters Ben Etchells, Callum Green, Henry Iwanejko, Charlie McGovern and Stephen Noble all making their 1st XV debut and the Peter Pan like, Jarrad Toulson, picking up another cap. James Wilson took up the scrum half position and Ronan Evans returned at stand off after a number of weeks out. Matt Wood joined Josh Malkinson in the second row, behind front three of Will Denham, Niall Jackson and Iwanejko, leaving Josh Clough, Matt Deighton and Josh Plunkett to complete the eight.
York started the game strongly and took an early lead with an unconverted try, when the dancing feet of Sam Elliott sliced through Cleckheaton’s defence. The visitors got into their stride and Martin Woodhead made a number of strong jaunts up the wing before Mikey Hayward evened up the scores with the first of what would become a hat-trick of tries. The elusive runner hit a nice line on the inside which Matty Piper spotted to put his centre partner through the gap. Evans added the conversion to put Cleckheaton ahead 7-5 after 20 minutes. The lead was short-lived as York showed their pace with an attack down Cleckheaton’s left flank, winger and fullback combining at pace for George Davies to score. Elliot added the extras and York regained the lead. Just before half time Mikey Haywood went in for his second, splitting York’s defence and evening up the scores once again. At the change of ends it was honours even at 12 a-piece.
Cleckheaton had a to withstand a period of intense pressure 10 minutes after the restart, when Charlie McGovern (deliberate knock on) and Josh Plunket (raising the legs above the horizontal) were both shown yellow cards within 4 minutes of each other. Despite the numeric advantage York were kept at bay. Restored to full complement and Jack Bickerdike now in the helm behind the scrum, Cleckheaton began to apply the pressure and made good ground into York’s territory, with Jack Seddon adding some spark from off the bench. Piper had been eager for work all game and one such carry proved too strong for York’s defence, who could only stop the player’s forward momentum when he was already over the whitewash. Though it was only 17 - 12 in the visitor’s favour, Cleckheaton seemed to be in the ascendency but left an acre of ground on their left and when the ball was turned over by York, winger Harry Jinks found himself in open space to run in from the half way line for the home side. The successful conversion saw the scoreboard tick over to 19-17 in favour of York. This was a disappointing turn around for Cleck who had defended like demons when down to 13 men but had now conceded a fairly soft try. Confidence could have been affected but there was still ample belief and enough time, with just under 15 minutes remaining, to secure a place in the next round. Cleckheaton took the game to York with renewed vigour and Malkinson made good headway from a line out catch before Evans floated a cross-field kick into the outstretched hands of Hayward. The winger/centre brought the ball under control and to complete his hat-trick and put Cleckheaton into the next round. To add icing to the cake, Evans converted the try from the touchline with a kick that barely cleared the bar but whose success was cheered roundly by the Cleckheaton faithful who had made the trip across.
This was a hard fought, determined performance from Cleckheaton, who kept going for the full 80 minutes. The 2nd team players that took the field were far from making up numbers and all played with commendable vigour.
Photos of the game courtesy of York’s Rob Long can be found here
Cleckheaton’s reward for reaching the next round is an away trip to Wharfedale. Meanwhile the team get back to league action this Saturday with a trip to Driffield. It is a 2.15pm kick off and the players/supporters’ bus will be leaving the club at 11.15am