Cleckheaton’s long-awaited return to competitive action did not go to plan as they were defeated 29-5 away at Bridlington.
The Moorenders travelled to the east coast for their first league game since December 2 a depleted outfit, with regular second-rowers Luke Pearson and Ryan Piercy sidelined by injury.
Bailey Smith also withdrew with a late knock while Josh Plunkett, Ben Thrower and Jack Bickerdike were unavailable due to holidays and other commitments.
Given the number of absentees, Cleck started relatively well, and whilst not posing a real danger to the Bridlington try line, they battled well in the middle of the park.
With the game finely poised at 0-0, with 15 minutes gone the hosts opted to kick a penalty in front of the sticks to go 3-0 ahead.
With half an hour on the clock the home side scored the game’s first try.
A well-worked reverse pass from Bridlington’s scrum-half found a support runner who ran clear for a well-executed try.
As the half was coming to a close the Brid number 8 picked the ball from the back of the scrum and bounced through the tackles to extend the host’s lead.
The Spen Valley men enjoyed the better of the first 10 minutes of the second half and got on the board with a Mikey Hayward try.
Matt Piper and Liam Darville combined to help put Hayward over for what would prove to be Cleckheaton’s only score.
A comeback did look likely immediately after the try but several promising attacks from Cleck were thwarted by handling errors.
Bridlington took full advantage of the visitor’s mistakes with some determined running that saw them go over for their third try of the afternoon.
The conversion brought the scores to 24-5, the Moorenders tried to respond with more points of their own but more unforced errors proved costly.
With only a few minutes remaining Bridlington went over for the their bonus-point try.
Cleckheaton face a tough January as their next three games will all be against sides currently above them in the league table.
Driffield are the visitors to Moorend tomorrow.
Cleck won the reverse fixture earlier in the season thanks to a last-minute try and will be hoping to complete the league double over their opponents tomorrow afternoon (2.15pm).