Percy Park 50 - 36 Cleckheaton
By Neil Gillan
CLECKHEATON FALL TO DEFEAT
By Geoff Akerman
Cleckheaton travelled to the North East to face Percy Park on Saturday and put in a determined effort in the fight to avoid relegation. Cleckheaton made 2 changes from last week, Brad Marsden was unavailable and Ollie Depledge hadn't recovered from injury, Tom Austin started at flanker with player coach Mike Swetman at outside centre. Cleckheaton got the scoreboard moving on 3 minutes when after good ball retention by the pack, scrum half Jack Bickerdike popped a great inside pass to captain Matt Piper who powered over from 10 metres, Breakwell added the goal 7-0. The lead was short lived as Park responded with 2 quick tries, on 6 minutes lock Austin Philipps barged his way over the line, converted by Smith and captain Jon Dubois added a second under the posts after Park had the Cleck defence stretched out wide, 14-7 on 12 minutes. On 15 minutes , Dale Breakwell spotted an unmarked Danny Booth wide on the right and kicked to his wing, it looked if the chance had gone after Booth lost his footing, but he recovered and crashed over in the corner, the kick was wide 14-12. Cleck regained the lead on 23 minutes after Breakwell kicked a 30 metre penalty after an offside call but Smith kicked a penalty goal that was made easier by a bit of backchat as Cleck were marched back 10 metres, 17-15.Josh Plunkett entered the game after Joey Carley picked up a knock on 32 minutes.The Percy Park lock Langlands was sin binned on 37 minutes and the final action of the half saw determined driving by Damian Pearson and Paul Turner gave prop Andy Piper the chance to score his first try of the season, Breakwell added the goal and the referee blew for half time with Cleckheaton holding a narrow 17-22 lead.
Park showed their intention early in the second period when a long pass from Smith to left wing Michael Grove race past the cover of Booth and Wilson to score under the post, Smith goaled 24-22. Back came Cleckheaton and good driving down the middle of the field saw Jack Seddon tackled short of the line but had good vision to pop a pass for Matt Piper to cross under the posts, Breakwell added the goal and it was 24-29 on 48 minutes. Park regained the lead when Cleckheaton were penalised on half way and Smith took a quick tap and dummied his way through some sloppy defence to score a try which he converted to make the score 31-29. The next try went to the home team , a short ball was thrown to the front of the lineout and Langlands crashed over the line, Smith added a difficult conversion 38-29. Danny Booth was sent to the sin bin on 62 minutes after being caught offside and in his absence, Park extended their lead after Cleckheaton lost the ball in midfield and another long pass put Grove across for his his 2nd long range try of the afternoon, Smith converted again from the touchline 45-29 on 68 minutes. Cleckheaton never gave up battling and Matt Piper completed his hat trick with a try on 71 minutes after good work by Bickerdike .Breakwell added the goal 45-36. On 77 minutes Cleckheaton had a chance to get a losing bonus point but Breakwell was wide with the penalty goal. With time running out, another penalty was awarded to Cleckheaton and Breakwell stepped up but pushed the ball wide, to compound their misery ,Park launched a counter attack from behind the goal line, the ball was moved left and after a long kick downfield, Grove was on hand to complete his hat trick to give Park victory 50-36.
It's still very tight at the bottom of the league, Cleckheaton hold a 4 point advantage over Bridlington who occupy the final relegation spot. Next week , Cleck complete the league program with a must win game at home to Malton and Norton, kick off is 3pm