CLECKHEATON fell to defeat in the final play of an absorbing game against Pocklington at Moorend (28-33).
Thiu Barnard’s side were not at their best but looked set for a draw with the scores locked at 28-28 after three tries apiece.
However, a chipped kick and wicked bounce allowed Pocklington to claim the win in the most dramatic of circumstances, dealing a blow to the play-off aspirations of Cleckheaton.
Player-coach Barnard started in the second-row in the only change from the one-point victory at Morley the previous week with Matt Wood, Archie Rika-Rayne and Ben Dearing occupying the bench.
Pocklington started strongly with their big pack carrying the ball well. On six minutes, as Cleckheaton were trying to launch a counter attack, Dale Breakwell threw a long pass but it was intercepted by centre Richardson who raced away to score an easy try, with Pollack adding the goal.
On 11 minutes, Breakwell reduced the arrears with a penalty goal. Both teams continued to probe for openings but defences were on top and Pocklington were having the edge with some aggressive play at the rucks.
Breakwell atoned for his earlier mistake on 26 minutes when he spotted a gap and sprinted clear for a fourth try of the season, and he also added the goal to put Cleckheaton into the lead at 10-7.
The lead was short-lived as Pocklington got a second try when the left wing sped clear to score in the corner, kick
There was more to come two minutes before the break as second-row Barnard did a decent impression of a flying winger to dive over in the corner for a spectacular try and make it 15-12 at half-time.
Early in the second half, Breakwell kicked a straightforward penalty to extend that advantage to 18-12, but the lead changed hands again when a kick out of defence failed to find touch and Pock went through several phases before an inside pass saw them over again.
Pollack added the goal from in front of the posts and then added a simple penalty a couple of minutes later to extend their lead to 18-22.
Mikey Hayward made some determined runs out of defence and, up front, Brad Marsden and Tom Austin got through a ton of work in both attack and defence.
On 56 minutes, right wing Jack Marshall got on the end of a Breakwell cross-field kick and scored a great try, taking the full-back, corner flag and the Cleckheaton touch judge across the line with him.
Breakwell added a towering conversion and Cleckheaton regained the lead at 25-22.
Pollack added another penalty on the hour mark before Breakwell replied to restore the lead to 28-25. Three minutes later it was a level game after another Pollack penalty.
The intensity continued with both sides battering each other in an attempt to force a win. The turning point in the game came with what was the final play.
Pocklington put the ball into a scrum 30 metres from their own line, Pollack chipped over the defence and a wicked bounce took the ball away from the cover, allowing Pollack to race 50 metres to score the match-winning try.