Cleckheaton travelled to Pocklington after a week’s training where the intensity and commitment were moved up a gear. The side were determined to get their first win of 2019 and travelled to the Yorkshire Wolds focussed on victory. The preparation clearly paid off as the side went on to put in probably their best performance of the season. Paul Turner returned to the front row and Jack Bickerdike resumed at scrum half after injury. Ollie Depledge moved to centre where he had an impressive game.
On a breezy day, Cleckheaton played with the wind and the slope in their favour in the first half and opened the scoring on 17 minutes when Dale Breakwell struck a penalty goal from 35m out. At the restart Jack Seddon was taken out in the air and Pocklington flanker Sayer was shown a yellow card. Breakwell’s trusty boot doubled Cleck’s lead to 6-0 on the half hour mark . The advantage was short lived, as Pocklington this time gained possession from the restart, although it appeared once more as if Seddon had been knocked of the ball in the air. Pocklington’s forwards were not dwelling on that though and rumbled up field before scrum half Rees crashed over under the posts. The simple conversion gave Pock the lead. As half time approached, Cleck got their first try of the game, good work by Skipper, Matt Piper, and Depledge put Danny Booth clear to score near the corner. Breakwell added the goal from the touch line and at half time Cleckheaton held a 13-7 lead.
The game took a a dramatic turn early in the 2nd half when Pocklington’s Marcus Britland was dismissed for a stamping incident. The resulting penalty was kicked by Breakwell and Cleck were now 16-7 up. Cleckheaton were keeping the pressure on and looking to play some very nice rugby. A line out and rolling maul, expertly controlled by Niall Jackson, took play to 5 metres from the Pocklington line, where first Bickerdike was held up and then with a second surge, Paul Turner plunged over the line for his 1st try of the season. Breakwell improved the score and Cleckheaton were opening up a decent lead. Mid-way through the second period Breakwell added to his points tally with his first try for Cleckheaton after good work by the pack. The same player converted bringing Cleck’s advantage to 30-7.
Pocklington got a consolation try on 68 minutes via lock forward Fothergill but Cleckheaton were not about to allow the home side any glimmer of hope. Danny Booth went in for his 11th try of the season with a smart grubber kick which he regathered to crash over in the corner. Breakwell added another penalty as the game drew into its last 5 minutes but Cleckheaton saved the best moment of the game until last. Man of the Match, Jack Seddon topped off an awesome performance when he gathered the ball from the restart and broke through the defensive line. He passed the ball to Mikey Hayward who found Josh Plunkett in support, who in turn provided a return pass to Seddon. The No8 dived over the line to score Cleckheaton’s 5th try of the game and his 9th try of the season.
This was a spectacular end to a fantastic team performance and shows that hard work in mid-week can really set the tone for the weekend. Cleck’s line outs functioned well with Joey Carley hitting the target and Ryan Piercy and Damian Pearson controlling the ball well. Dale Breakwell directed the game with aplomb and recorded a personal haul of 27 points. Next week Cleckheaton host Driffield at Moorend kick off at 3.00pm.