Cleckheaton welcomed Billingham to Moorend to play what many expected to be a tight game against many people's favourites for promotion. It turned into a one sided affair with the rampant visitors running in 7 tries to hand Cleckheaton a heavy defeat.
In team news , Jack Marshall returned at full back, Robin Bennett was available to play after surviving the Disciplinary Panel earlier this week,Andy Piper was making his 250th appearance for the 1st XV, James Wilson, Ben Thrower and Bailey Smith were on the bench.
Billingham showed their intent from the start by collecting their own kick off but were penalised at the breakdown shortly after and Cleckheaton cleared downfield. Breakwell got the backline moving to the left and a lovely inside pass saw Joe Flanagan charging forward but he lost control in contact and the chance was lost. On 10 minutes , Billingham opened the scoring after winning a line out 8 metres from Cleckheaton try line , the maul was pulled down and Mr. Garland awarded the Penalty Try 0-7. The Referee gave instructions to both teams to calm down before the restart as tempers flared up.
Billingham had Cleckheaton under almost constant pressure, they were quicker to the breakdown and the speed that they recycled the ball gave little opportunity for the defence to reset. It came as no surprise on 24 minutes the Billingham scored a second try though Anthony Jackson, converted by Jobe Roxby 0-14. It didn't get any better for Cleckheaton as on 30 minutes, they conceded a penalty in midfield, Billingham kicked for touch, won the lineout and the rolling maul almost walked over the Cleckheaton line,lock Ben Walton with the try, Roxby converted 0-21. Billingham were awarded a penalty on their own 22, a quick tap and Billingham were almost in for another try but for an outstanding cover tackle by Marshall saved the day. It was one way traffic and it was a relief for the Cleckheaton faithful when the Referee blew for half time with the score Cleckheaton 0 Billingham 21
Into the second half , Cleckheaton won a penalty but then knocked on at the line out. On Billingham's next possession, a cross kick to the left wing was just out of reach. Brambani made a half break for Cleckheaton but solid tackling by the visitors kept their line intact. On 54 minutes, they launched a swift counter attack from deep with Ben Walton crossing for a second try which Roxby converted.Cleckheaton managed to stop the flow for the next 10 minutes but when the Billingham replacement picked up from a scrum 8 metres from his own line he raced 70 metres downfield, his pass to the wing should have resulted in try number 5 but a smothering tackle by Mikey Hayward prevented the score and Cleckheaton had to drop out from the goal line. The next try wasn't long in coming, several drives and Peter Evans , who had a fine game at 10 was in support for try number 5, Roxby adding the goal 0-35. On 71 minutes, Nathan Myers got on the end of another incisive break for Billingham's 6th try , again converted by Roxby, 0-42. On 75 minutes, the crossfield kick that had been tried several times finally paid off, Jobe Roxby collecting and touching down for the 7th try, he added the goal , giving him 17 points on the day, 0-49.
Cleckheaton got a consolation try with the final move of the game , centre Tom Hainsworth bursting onto a short pass from Brambani to touchdown, Bailey Smith adding the goal, final score Cleckheaton 7 Billingham 49.
Next week , Cleckheaton make the long trek to Alnwick , coach for supporters and players will be leaving around 1030, check website for any changes to this departure time.