CLECKHEATON RUFC let a 12-point lead slip as they lost 30-12 at home to Billingham on Saturday afternoon.
The result means that Cleckheaton have now gone five games without a win and sit only two points above the relegation places.
Cleck are only one of three teams to have beaten Billingham on their own pitch so far this season and were in a confident mood after they led 12-0 with 20 minutes of the game played.
Richard Piper came close on two occasions but was denied by the Billingham defence, but Ryan Piercy did put the hosts on the board as he gathered the ball and forced his way over from close range.
Jack Seddon was instrumental in Cleckheaton’s second try of the game as he took the ball 50 metres upfield, and quick hands along the back row allowed Matty Piper to pick the ball from the ruck and force his way over.
Errors from the hosts allowed Billingham to get a foothold in the game.
A loose offload was gathered by winger Tom Briggs who raced over the line for the visitors’ first points of the game.
Billingham were again gifted a chance by Cleckheaton who failed to find touch from a kick, Hopley gathered on the wing and raced through to make it 12-12.
Matty Piper was then mistakenly shown a yellow card for a tackle that he was not involved in, leaving Cleckheaton a man down and frustrated with the referee’s decision.
Billingham took full advantage as they took a quick tap penalty and scored their third of the afternoon, before adding another minutes before half time.
Cleckheaton improved in the second half as they tightened up in defence, conceding only two penalty goals, however they were unable to force their way back into the game as the Billingham line held strong.
Billingham received a sin-bin of their own after numerous penalties were given away close to the line but it was to no avail for Cleckheaton who now have five matches left to avoid relegation.
The Moorenders travel to take on Hull tomorrow afternoon (3pm), where a win would go a long way in helping Cleck move themselves away from the drop zone.