CLECKHEATON pulled off an impressive 20-12 win over second placed Wirral to go six points clear of the relegation zone in National League Three North.
The hosts, boosted by the return of James Crowther, Josh Hall and Tom Austin to the first team, took the lead early on thanks to a Ronan Evans penalty goal.
This was followed shortly afterwards by an unconverted Andy Piper try.
The Moorenders played a brilliant first half. The hosts looked clinical in attack and solid at the back and thoroughly deserved their lead at the interval.
However Luke Pearson had to leave the field with suspected double fracture to his ankle – and after the game it was announced Pearson, who has featured in every game this season, will miss the remainder of the campaign.
Nevertheless the hosts rallied together to ensure they would not surrender their lead in the second period.
Following a yellow card brandished to a Wirral player the Moorenders didn’t take long to go further ahead in the contest.
James Wilson was the try-scorer following good work from Matt Piper and Martin Woodhead. But with 25 minutes to go, and seemingly in control, prop Paul Turner and shortly afterwards Jack Bickerdike were both shown yellow cards.
Wirral quickly capitalised on their two man advantage through Julian Haigh.
From the restart Wirral proved why they are second in the league and quickly scored another try, finished off by James Annetts, who stepped up to convert his own touchdown and bring his side to within three points.
Cleckheaton were restored to their full compliment shortly afterwards and showed resilience to withstand the Wirral onslaught.
In fact it was Cleckheaton who surprised the visitors with another try when Tom Austin drew his man and fed Seddon for a well-worked try late on.
Cleckheaton have moved above Stockport into 10th place in the league and hope to extend the gap between themselves and the drop when they face Birkenhead Park tomorrow (Saturday, 3pm).
A win in that game coupled with a Huddersfield YMCA defeat to Billingham would guarantee Cleckheaton’s National League Three North status for another year.