Match Report: Cleckheaton 14 – 20 York
By Neil Gillan
Cleckheaton Rue Missed Opportunities. By Geoff Akerman
Cleckheaton faced York for the 3rd time this season, both teams having previously recorded a victory and both eager to record a win to end poor recent league form.
Cleckheaton had to make several changes in the pack, PaulTurner, Niall Jackson and Brad Marsden were all unavailable and scrum half, Jack Bickerdike, was out with a rib injury. Ollie Depledge stepped in to the half back position after more than 2 years out of the game. Tom Austin also returned after injury at blind side flanker with young Henry Iwanjenko starting at prop.
York kicked off with the wind behind them and it became very obvious that their pacey backs were their main strike force and they would like to play an expansive game. Quick ball to both wings had the Cleck cover stretched in the early stages but strong defence kept the visitors at bay. A penalty goal on 8 minutes by Dale Breakwell got the scoreboard moving in Cleck’s Favour, 3-0. Both sides had difficulty in getting the final pass to hand, several times play was brought back though handling errors. York took the lead on 30 minutes with a try by prop Rutherford, who burrowed under the tackle of Josh Plunkett after good ball retention. Jon Dawes added the conversion 3-7. Cleck restarted the game and as has happened on other occasions this season, didn't touch the ball until another try had been scored. Scrum half Atkin made a break on his own 10 and ran 40 metres before giving a scoring pass to Dawes next to the posts, the conversion was good and York had a 3-14 lead on 33 minutes. Ben Thrower entered the game to give Iwanjenko a break but Cleck were too anxious and the handling errors were taking their toll. At half time it remained 3-14.
Ben Dearing came off the bench after Cleck suffered the loss of winger Danny Booth to a head injury. Man of the Match, Mike Hayward, was having a fine game for home team, making some determined runs and was a handful for the York defence throughout the game. Hooker Joey Carley was prominent and he supported a break by Mike Swetman and Matt Piper down the left flank and wasn't to be denied as he crossed for a try, improved by Breakwell to bring Cleck back within contention at 10-14. York almost increased their lead on 44 minutes when centre Ben Dent kicked to the line but was unable to gather the ball and the chance was gone. 5 minutes later and it became a single point game as Breakwell added another penalty goal from 25 metres. On 50 minutes York flanker Lewis Hannibal offered his opinion to the official and was promptly yellow carded. Cleck couldn't make a numerical advantage pay however and York scored an unconverted try via Luke Stockton to make the score 13-19. Restored to full strength, York added a bonus point try through their Man of the Match, Toby Atkin, who crossed on the right for another unconverted score.
As the game moved into the last 10 minutes, with Cleckheaton trying to get back into contention a long pass towards Hayward was gathered by a York player in an offside position and they were again reduced to 14 men. Cleck took the scrum option and York infringed as they were powered backwards, resulting in the referee awarding a penalty try to put a turn-around in reach at 20-24. York were hanging on by any means possible when another of their players was sent to the bin. From a scrum close to York’s line, Jack Seddon picked up and threw a pass which, if caught, would almost certainly have led to a last ditch try and a one point victory for Cleck. It was not be Cleck’s day once again and York took the spoils.