Cleckheaton made the short journey to Leeds today for a first-ever league encounter with last seasons Yorkshire One Champions Moortown.
Captain Matt Piper passed a late fitness test and Josh Plunkett returned in place of Danny Booth and Brad Marsden who were unavailable. Cleckheaton kicked off with wind behind them in the first half but were unable to make much use of the conditions as the hosts played a very tight forward dominated game in the early exchanges, but the defence was first class and kept Moortown at bay , aided by some poor ball handling.
It was 21 minutes before the scoreboard was brought into use, after a long touch finding kick from Dale Breakwell deep into the Moortown 22 , pressure was applied by Matt Piper and Ollie Depledge in midfield which resulted in a mistimed clearance that flew high in the air towards the home try line , Mikey Hayward was quickest to react and brought the ball down and touched down in the corner for the first try of the game, Dale Breakwell converted from the touchline 0-7.
Moortown's backs saw little of the ball in the next few minutes as the forward battle continued, but on 32 minutes a committed drive by the No.8 created some space and a long ball into midfield saw full back Greenwood over the line for a try which was unconverted 5-7.
Another long kick downfield led to Cleckheaton's forwards halting the counter attack at the resulting maul and when the scrum was set a terrific effort shunted the home pack backwards, Seddon and Austin combined and the rest of the pack drove Tom Austin over the tryline for a try which Breakwell converted to make the score 5-14 as half time approached.
Early in the second half , Jack Marshall was shown the yellow card after Moortown were close to the line. The scrum option was called but great surge by the Cleck front row of Piper, Thrower and Jackson won the ball against the head and the lines were cleared. With Marshall still serving his time on the naughty step, a crossfield kick wasn't dealt with by Hayward and the loose ball was scooped up by Tom Moorby who raced away to score an excellent try , the goal was added and it was a 2 point game at 12-14 after 45 minutes. Cleckheaton defended their line like demons for the next 7 minutes and were under considerable pressure, however a fine counter attack involving Piper, Depledge and Hayward took play into the Moortown half where not for the first time in the game a penalty was awarded for a high tackle, Breakwell stepped up and kicked the 40 metre goal to extend the lead to 12-17. Another penalty was awarded after a Moortown player was adjudged to have collapsed a maul in midfield and quick thinking by Breakwell saw Seddon and Wilson unmarked on the far touchline and his kick found Seddon who fed Wilson for a try which was unconverted 12-22 after 62 minutes. Chris Piper and Archie Rika Rayne entered the game as replacements for Jackson and Thrower and both had an impact with some surging runs. The hosts kept chipping away and with 8 minutes remaining kicked a routine penalty from under the posts to reduce the arrears to 15-22.
The Moortown full back put a long kick downfield , Hayward fielded it confidently but was then caught in possession and penalised for not releasing, from the resulting penalty the ball was moved left and Steve Waterhouse ran around the defence and scored to the left of the posts, the kick was good and it was tied game at 22-22.
There was still time for more drama as Cleckheaton were awarded a penalty on halfway, Dale Breakwell kicked for goal and fell just short, this was the last action of a terrific game, the referee blew for time, final score 22-22, both sides taking 2 league points from the game. Next week , Cleckheaton are back on home territory when they entertain West Hartlepool kick off at 3.00 pm.