Cleckheaton impress to upset league leaders

Cleckheaton impress to upset league leaders
Photo: Gerald Christian

CLECKHEATON threw the form book out of the window at a soggy Driffield to record their first away win of the season (28-37). 

The Moorenders were yet to pick up a win on the road in three attempts this season, and they travelled to East Yorkshire to face a side topping the table and holding a perfect home record.

Driffield led for much of the game but Cleck were never far behind, and they seized the initiative in the second half to claim a well-deserved bonus-point win and move up to third in the league table.

They were boosted for the trip by the arrival of Tom Lillycrop, with the former Batley Bulldogs forward making his debut from the bench in the place of the unavailable Brad Marsden.

Driffield got the scoreboard rolling on 11 minutes when they took advantage of Tom Austin being sent to the sin bin for a dubious tackle by crossing for try on the right.

It didn’t get much better for Cleckheaton as the Driffield number eight was on hand to crash over for a second try just four minutes later, which took the lead out to    12-0.

Cleckheaton got a foothold in Driffield territory and when Ryan Piercy won ball at a lineout, the maul rumbled forward and hooker Ben Thrower crashed over for his third try of the season and Dale Breakwell added the goal.

On 27 minutes, Driffield added a third try with a simple score, although the conversion was screwed wide to keep the scores at 17-7.

That gap was reduced back down to three before the break as Tom Breakwell took a quick penalty and found Mike Hayward to cross for a try five metres in from touch. 

Dale Breakwell added the goal and at half-time it was anyone’s game at 17-14.

Five minutes into the second half, Watts found his range with a 40-metre penalty goal to extend the lead, but the visitors still looked dangerous.

The Cleckheaton pack were dominant in the scrums and the lineout was secure.

From such a passage, Thrower crashed over for a third try with Dale Breakwell adding another conversion to give them the lead for the first time.

The hosts nudged ahead again with another Watts penalty, but man of the match Dale Breakwell was immaculate with the boot and added a 30-metre drop goal to put Cleckheaton into a lead they would not relinquish at 23-24. 

On 67 minutes, Matt Piper picked up a cross kick and made progress, handing on to Josh Plunkett who was held up short of the line, but he offloaded back to Piper to crash over the line for the bonus-point try. 

Dale Breakwell converted to put Cleckheaton two scores ahead, and a second drop goal and a 45-metre penalty added to Driffield’s misery as the lead was extended to 23-37. 

Driffield added a fourth try to secure a bonus point for themselves, and the conversion would have given them another but they were unable to slot between the posts. 

Cleckheaton have a week to toast that excellent team performance before they return to action with a crunch derby meeting with Morley at Moorend on November 9.

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