Match Report: Morpeth 34 – 19 Cleckheaton
By Neil Gillan
Cleckheaton Finish Strongly But Away Win Still Eludes Them
Cleckheaton made the long trip to Morpeth and for the second year in a row came back empty handed on the end of a 34-19 defeat. The team’s recent home record has been outstanding but they still search for their first win on the road in the 2018/19 season.
Morpeth started the better and had the game’s first score after only five minutes when a break down the right hand side and an offload in the tackle led to a try for winger Stevenson, converted by Boldy to give the home team a 7-0 lead. On 15 minutes, Cleckheaton equalised following a good set piece line out. The resulting maul rumbled towards the Morpeth goal line put was taken to ground short. The ball was quickly recycled by scrum half Bickerdike and quick hands by Dearing and Swetman put full back Wilson Over. Swetman added the extras.
Both sides were guilty of handling errors as the rain intensified. On 30 minutes following two quick penalties, Morpeth were camped on the visitors line and when the ball was moved wide to the right, a second try was scored, converted by Boldy . On the stroke of half time , scrum half Eliott increased the lead with a blind side move from a scrum close to the line. The referee blew to end the first period and Cleckheaton had been hit with two quick tries, leaving them trailing 19 – 7.
At the start of the 2nd half, Cleckheaton had to shuffle the pack through injury to Carley and Barnard and it didn't help when replacement prop Jackson was shown the yellow card for tackling the player without the ball, the simple penalty goal took the score to 22-7.Whilst Cleck were reduced to 14 men, Morpeth left wing Jardine broke away to score a fine try to give the home side a try bonus point and a 27-7 lead.
Cleckheaton started to gain a bit more confidence midway through the period and after several phases , replacement Woodhead was strong enough to cling onto the ball whilst being pushed over the line for the second week in a row, Swetman hit the post with the conversion, 27-12 to Morpeth.
10 minutes from time and a searing run down the left by Jardine and a smart kick through found no Cleckheaton player within 10 metres of the try line and flanker Craigs picked up and scored under the posts to put the game out of reach, the conversion was successful and the score was now 34-12.
Cleckheaton did not give up the ghost and battled hard in an attempt to claw back some of Morpeth’s advantage. With two tries in the bag already a bonus point was not out of the question. This became a real possibility when Cleckheaton won a scrum against the head and Crowther powered over for a try from 10 metres out. Dearing converted with Swetman now off the field due to a calf injury, which will keep him out of this week’s game. Cleckheaton were playing with some real urgency now but unfortunately time ran out and the Moorender’s came away with nothing.
This week Cleckheaton face struggling West Leeds at Moorend, kick off is at 3pm