CLECKHEATON’S winless start to 2019 continued with a very disappointing 33-5 defeat away at struggling West Leeds.
There was very little in the opening exchanges, with the blustery wind affecting both teams and several penalties awarded along with many handling errors.
The first score came when Cleckheaton launched an attack down the right wing, but a sloppy pass by Mike Swetman led to West Leeds number eight George Carpenter intercepting near halfway and crossing in the left corner.
Cleckheaton had to reorganise when their starting nine left the field with a rib injury. Wilson went to scrum half and Hayward to full-back as Plunkett entered from the bench.
On 24 minutes, after the hosts knocked on close to their own line from the scrum, Seddon powered over on the blind side in the right corner for his eighth try of the season. The kick was unsuccessful but the scores were level at 5-5. Cleckheaton conceded a penalty for offside in front of the posts and Keir Breakwell put the 30-metre kick over to edge the home side back in front.
Hayward made a terrific break down the right only to be felled by a high tackle by Calderwood, who was dispatched to the sin bin as half-time approached.
Early in the second half, West Leeds scored a try wide on the left after good control by the forwards. The conversion by Breakwell was good from the touchline to extend the lead to 15-5.
Calderwood exposed a gap in Cleck’s right side defence to cross for another try on 52 minutes, and when Breakwell added a penalty on 70 minutes after another ruck offence, they had their backs to the wall at 23-5.
Cleckheaton had their best spell of the game at this point and were camped in the opposition 22 for most of the next eight minutes, but after a penalty and with Plunkett in the the sin bin, West Leeds got possession from a lineout and Calderwood crossed for his second try to give his team a bonus point win.
West Leeds got a final try to put the game to bed in the final minute, completing a 33-5 win.
Cleckheaton desperately need a moral boosting victory to pull-away from the lower reaches of the table, and will look to get it at Moorend tomorrow (kick-off 3pm) against a York side who have only picked up one win in the last two months themselves.