Bridlington 29 - 7 Cleckheaton
Christmas hangover spoils the trip to the seaside
Cleckheaton restarted their league campaign after an extended break, which not only covered the immediate festive period but due to frozen pitches at Morpeth and Moorend on consecutive weekends, meant that the team hadn’t played any games in North 1 East since 2nd December. There were also some unavailability to contend with as injuries kept both regular 2nd rows, Luke Pearson and Ryan Piercy out of the game. Bailey Smith also withdrew with a late knock and Ben Thrower, Josh Plunkett and Jack Bickerdike were unable to play due holidays and other commitments. Coach, Thiu Barnard, took up the task in the second row along with Neil Cherryholme, James Crowther moved to back row, Niall Jackson to Hooker, whilst James Wilson switched to scrum half and Liam Darville to fullback. Lewis Beasty and Matt Wood took up the bench spots.
Given the above changes Cleckheaton started relatively well and whilst not making many deep incursions into Bridlington territory gave as good as they got in the middle of the park. After 15 minutes the score was 0-0, with neither side really coming close to the others’ line. Around that time though the deadlock was broken when Cleckheaton conceded a penalty in front of their sticks and Bridlington went 3-0 in front. With half an hour gone a well worked reverse pass from Bridlington’s scrum half, found a support runner at pace and a well executed try, together with the conversion put Bridlington 17-0 ahead. With only a few minutes left in the half, the turkey dinners, chocolates and wine began to show as Brid’s No.8 picked up from the back of the scrum and bounced through a couple of tackles for an easy try. The sides changed ends with Cleckheaton trailing 17-0
Cleck started the second half much more brightly and had easily the best of the opening 10 minutes. The pressure paid dividends when Matt Piper, and Darville combined to put Mikey Hayward in for a try. A comeback looked plausible at that point but Cleckheaton started to rack up handling errors and some promising attacks were thwarted. Cleckheaton’s one-up tackling also began to suffer and the normal robust defence became breachable. Bridlington took full advantage with determined running and mid-way through the second period went in for their 3rd try of the game. The conversion brought the scores to 24-7. Cleckheaton tried to respond but again unforced errors deflated any pressure they built up, With only a few minutes left to go another couple of attempted tackles, to be filed under ‘Christmas hangover’, led to Bridlington going in again for a bonus point try.
Cleckheaton have four games in January all against sides that are above them in the league table. A tough month, which continues with the visit of Driffield this weekend. Cleckheaton have to dig deep in the coming weeks and will have to work hard to take the points. The team came out victorious with a last minute try in the corresponding fixture at Driffield in September and know they have the game to beat the Wolds Men if they can perform on the day