Cleckheaton 25-17 Bradford & Bingley
By Neil Gillan
Cleckheaton take bonus point win as Bees put on late swarm
By Geoff Akerman
Cleckheaton bounced back after last week's heavy loss to Malton & Norton by defeating neighbours Bradford & Bingley in an entertaining game in wet conditions at Moorend. Cleckheaton opened the scoring on 8 minutes following good work by the pack, securing the ball from a line out and setting up a rolling maul. As the maul rumbled forward hooker James Crowther was on hand to touch down. The conversion was wide but Cleckheaton led 5-0.
The advantage was extended when Mike Swetman barrelled his way past two would-be tacklers to score under the posts from 25m out. Ben Dearing added the extras making it 12-0 after 19 minutes and Cleck were looking comfortable. Dearing and Bees outside half Taylor then exchanged penalties to make the score 15-3 after 34 minutes. With a couple of minutes to half time Cleckheaton won a scrum 40 metres out and scrum half Jack Bickerdike scampered up the blindside and stepped inside the final defender to score a fine try under the posts, Dearing sliced the conversion wide but Cleckheaton led 20-3 at the break.
Cleckheaton continued the second half with another fine try where great handling by the backs worked a clear overlap for winger Keiron Downs to cross for the bonus point try and extend the lead to 25-3.
The next 20 minutes was very frustrating as tempers became frayed and the referee issued a stern warning to both captains. On 53 minutes , Joey Carley infringed once too often and was sent to the sin bin.
The Bees started to play a more expansive game to exploit the extra man and on 63 minutes crossed under the posts for a converted try to reduce their deficit to 25-10. Cleckheaton were sat back by this point, booting the ball into their opposition’s half when in possessIon and running down the clock. This handed the attacking impetus to the Bees and the visitors worked two clear overlaps only to knock on with the line at their mercy, before finally crossing for their second try with 4 minutes left . They took a quick conversion reducing the arrears to 25-17 but time was now on Cleckheaton’s side and there was no further score, netting Cleck a much improved bonus point win.
Second row Brad Marsden was awarded Man of the Match and earned himself the B & M Collins & Sons stand pie for his excellent work in the line out and tireless efforts in the loose.