CLECKHEATON RUFC did not get the start they were hoping for in their National League Three campaign as they came away from Waterloo without any points after a 33-19 loss.
With little time to prepare due to traffic delays, Cleckheaton started slowly and were starved of possession in the opening few minutes of the match.
However, amongst their first touches was an interception from Ross Hayden just outside Cleck’s 22. With the Waterloo defenders snapping at his heels, the speedy winger sprinted 70 metres to score and give the visitors a 5-0 lead.
The pace of the game was a step up from that in North One East and eventually created space down Cleckheaton’s right, which the home side’s centre partnership exploited well to create a try for centre John Cunningham.
Minutes later, a wayward looping pass down Cleck’s back line was plucked out of the air by Loo’s inside centre and their No.8 was sent on a 50-metre sprint to the line.
He was run down 15 metres short by Mike Piper but an offload to winger Matt Crow secured Waterloo’s second try, both of which were converted, to give them a 14-5 lead.
Cleckheaton’s hopes still looked alive at this point with a nine-point deficit not being insurmountable.
Things changed quite rapidly though early in the second half when Matt Piper was sin-binned for a shoulder charge and with the defence stretched, Crow went in for his second try of the afternoon.
Within 30 seconds of being back to full compliment, skipper Richard Piper was also sin-binned for a similar lazy tackle offence and the visitors were back down to 14 men.
Waterloo pressed Cleck’s line and in a scramble to defend, Rob Afoa Peterson was adjudged to have deliberately spoilt a try scoring opportunity, completing Cleckheaton’s hat-trick of yellow cards.
The visitors tried hard to keep Waterloo at bay with reduced numbers but scores were inevitable and Loo duly obliged with two further converted tries to stretch their lead to 33-5.
With the result in the bag Waterloo’s concentration waned and Jack Bickerdike took a quick tap penalty and scooted under the sticks for a try.
Cleckheaton’s forwards then made their way upfield in the same uncompromising fashion that was evident last season.
The pressure on Waterloo told and a handling error whilst trying to clear their lines was capitalised on by Mike Piper for Cleckheaton’s third try. Both tries were converted to give a final score of 33-19.
• RUGBY returned to Moorend on Saturday with the Kestrels hosting Harrogate and eventually running out 36-12 winners.
Tries from Robert Bennett, Jack Seddon, James Crowther, Jake Jagger and Matthew Hadfield sealed the win.