Photo: Gerald Christian
Cleckheaton RUFC lost by a narrow margin yet again in North East One, with a 17-11 defeat away at West Hartlepool.
The Moorenders led at the break but could only muster a second-half penalty goal as they slipped to their fifth defeat in nine games.
The hosts scored the game’s first points with a penalty after just two minutes.
Hartlepool continued to dominate the early proceedings but Cleckheaton held firm and scored the first try of the afternoon just before the half-hour mark.
Cleck created pressure with a dominant maul which generated space out wide, the ball was moved along the backline and looped over the final defender to Pat Foulstone, who had the simplest of run-ins.
Swetman was unable to convert but did kick a penalty after the home side were penalised for killing the ball on the line.
Hartlepool’s Ryan Painter was sent to the sin-bin for the offence.
Either side of the half-time whistle Hartlepool missed two penalty attempts as Cleck managed to hold onto their five-point lead.
However Cleck soon fell behind as Gavin Painter touched down despite the desperate defensive efforts from the Spen Valley side.
Painter converted his own try to give the home side a slender two-point advantage.
Nine minutes from time Cleckheaton were left with an uphill battle as a stolen lineout led to a try for Hartlepool’s Scott Butcher.
Cleck’s lineout had been working well all afternoon but a clean steal from the hosts saw Butcher take the ball at pace and burst through a gap to score under the posts.
With few minutes remaining the Moorenders reduced the deficit to a single score as Swetman put over a penalty.
Cleck threatened to steal the win in the dying moments but they were unable to find a way through before the referee brought proceedings to a close.
It is derby day for Cleckheaton tomorrow (Sat), as they look to get back on track with a home win against Huddersfield YMCA (3pm).