Match Report: Cleckheaton 37 - 39 Consett
By Neil Gillan
Cleckheaton fall to 80th minute defeat
Cleckheaton entertained Consett for the first time, falling to a last minute defeat, which saw them concede 3 tries in a frantic final 5 minutes to throw away a win which already seemed in the bag.
Mike Swetman returned to the outside half position with Ronan Evans taking up a position on the wing. Joey Carley took over the hooker’s role with Tim Mobbs ruled out with a neck injury and Ben Thrower unavailable.
The game started well for Cleckheaton, a good move by Swetman and Matt Piper put Danny Booth clear on the left wing and he touched down for a 5-0 lead on 6 minutes. Consett had failed to win in 10 league games but their enthusiasm with ball in hand started to put Cleckheaton under pressure. On 23 minutes fly half Alex Paulus sliced through some poor defensive work and scored wide out on the left, Cook added the extras to give Consett a 5-7 advantage. 5 minutes later, Cleck’s Jack Seddon was shown the yellow card for a high tackle and after the Consett pack secured possession, prop forward Connor forced his way over from close range. The conversion was missed but the visitors were building a lead at 5-12. The numerical advantage meant gaps were appearing in Cleckheaton’s defensive line and another try was added on 35 minutes through centre Dan Patchcott. Cook missed the conversion but Consett deserved the lead at 5-17, as Cleckheaton’s discipline let them down again as it has on many occasions this season.
Cleckheaton needed to wake up to answer the 3 tries from their opponents and restored to full complement, Mikey Hayward worked some space down the right and jinked his way over the try line for a fine try. Swetman failed with the conversion but the score looked better at 10-17. As time was running out at the end of the half Booth got into space and added his second try of the game to reduce the lead further at 15-17 at half time.
Almost from the restart, following a penalty in Cleckheaton’s favour, the pack rumbled forward and Joey Carley forced his way over the line for his first league try of the season to secure a try scoring bonus point. Swetman found his range with the conversion and the lead had swung back towards the home team at 22-17. At this point Cleck had added 17 points in a 7 minutes spell and could have gone even further ahead when replacement Will Denham powered to the line only to halted by a last ditch tackle. Plunkett then knocked on as he tried to dive over the line. Despite Cleckheaton looking most likely to score another try, it was Consett who advanced the scoreboard next, when Cook added a simple penalty after the referee had penalised Cleck for offside.
James Wilson scored a great try supporting Booth and Hayward, Swetman adding the extras as the lead extended to 29-20. The same player then kicked a penalty goal from in front of the posts on 62 minutes to take Cleck’s lead to 12 points. Wilson looked to have sealed it for certain when he got his 2nd try of the afternoon after Consett failed to clear their lines. Cleckheaton were now 17 points ahead with less than that many minutes left on the clock and their prospects of victory were strengthened when Consett were reduced to 14 men, with Connor sent to the sin bin. Cleckheaton were unable to add to their score during this 10 minutes but with only 6 minutes now remaining, this didn’t seem a necessity. Consett back at full strength went in for what seemed like a consolation try to take the score to 37-25. The visitors had the bit between their teeth because a losing bonus point was now a definite possibility. To make this even more realisable, Cleckheaton were reduced to 14 men again when Booth was yellow carded for a deliberate knock on. Consett swept the ball wide to the left for full back Cook to score to the left of the posts, Paulus took the quick conversion and Cleckheaton had allowed Consett to set up a grandstand finish at 37-32. Cleckheaton put the ball back into play twice during this final onslaught but they had no possession as Consett's ball retention was superb. On 80 minutes Alex Paulus sliced through some shocking defence to score the equalizing try under the posts, Cook added the conversion to heap misery on Cleckheaton and the faithful throng at Moorend. Consett played without error in the last 10 minutes of the game and showed the desire to win right to the 80th minute, whilst Cleckheaton sat on their lead and coughed up 3 valuable league points as a result.
Cleckheaton’s discipline let them down on the day, once again, and whilst reduced to 14 men the opposition ran in 4 Tries with 2 Conversions. The stats speak for themselves, penalties gift the opposition points, yellow cards gift them victory. Cleckheaton cannot afford to be so generous with these sorts of gifts as we hit the festive period. Next week, it’s the start of Advent and Cleckheaton renew their rivalry with our neighbours Morley, this tasty local derby kick’s off is at 3pm.