Photo: Gerald Christian
CLECKHEATON suffered a second consecutive loss (27-17) as they came away from Pocklington without any league points last weekend.
They travelled to East Yorkshire looking to bounce back from derby defeat at the hands of Morley the previous week, facing a team that had only recorded two wins so far in the season.
In a game that was held up by a serious ankle injury to Cleck’s Ryan Piercy and moved to an adjacent pitch, Pocklington dominated from the start and built up a big enough lead to ensure the win.
Tom Austin was injured for Cleckheaton last week and was replaced by Brad Marsden, while Gus Milborne was on the bench with Ben Thrower and Chris Piper.
Pocklington went on the attack from the start and appeared to be dominating the scrums, rucks and mails, and it came as no surprise when Cleckheaton conceded a penalty to give Christian Pollack a simple kick at goal.
Cleckheaton had very little possession in the early going. An accurate cross-field kick put Mikey Hayward into space but he was thwarted by the referee’s whistle.
On 12 minutes, the hosts extended their lead when good support play led to a try to Richardson, converted by Pollack, to make it 10-0.
Things didn’t improve for Cleckheaton when a promising move broke down and Pocklington swept downfield. From the maul that developed 15 metres from the line, their pack drove over the try-line to extend the lead further.
Cleck made early changes as Niall Jackson and Archie Rika-Rayne were replaced by Piper and Thrower and this stabilised the scrum. However, Pocklington still got a third try through Pollack, who strode through a huge gap in the defensive line while Ollie Depledge was having treatment. Pollack added the goal and the lead was considerable at 22-0.
Cleck finally got on the board just before the break. After winning lineout ball on the five-metre line, Piercy drove over the line for his third try of the season and half-time score of 22-5.
Early in the second half, Joey Carley left the field with an injury. Milborne replaced him and when another catch and drive from the lineout made ground, Thrower crossed for his fifth try of the season and Breakwell added the goal.
Referee Andy Baker suspended play on 58 minutes after Piercy suffered his injury and had to be removed by ambulance. The game continued on an adjacent pitch after a 15-minute delay.
Cleckheaton were driving downfield on the new pitch with some purpose when Matt Piper had the ball stripped by a Pocklington forward who was clearly off his feet on the blind side of the official, but the counter attack down the right led to a try in the corner. In the melee that followed Tom Breakwell was sent to the sin bin, but with eight minutes to go Pocklington led 27-12.
There was a glimmer of hope when Jack Marshall put James Wilson clear and he powered past the final defender for a fine try to set up a grandstand final five minutes.
These closing stages were very tense and the Pocklington second-row was yellow carded to even the numbers up. However, Cleckheaton couldn’t break through to get a fourth try and at least into bonus-point range.
The defeat saw Cleck slip down to sixth place in the North One East table ahead of tomorrow’s (Saturday, kick-off 2.15pm) home tie with Malton and Norton.
Malton head to Moorend only four points behind their hosts in the table, but they have lost all four games on the road so far this season.