CLECKHEATON slipped back into the relegation places in National League Three North following a 40-25 defeat away at Billingham.
But the Moorenders salvaged a bonus point from the contest thanks to a late flourish.
The game was lost long before the closing stages, however.
Billingham, who love to run with the ball, were given far too much time and Cleck’s kicking game to the hosts’ back three played into the home sides hands.
Martin Hopley scored the opening try of the game for Billingham after he collected his own chip and showed good space to get to the line. Pete Evans converted.
And five minutes later the hosts were on the attack again and the stretched Cleckheaton defence was unable to prevent Adam Radwan from touching down to make it 12-0.
Cleckheaton kept themselves in it though after good work from the forwards, with Tom Austin running the ball at every opportunity.
This persistence paid off when Mark Barlow received the ball in space on the left to score.
And after Ronan Evans added a penalty goal Moorenders’ deficit was reduced to 12-8.
But before half-time Cleck suffered a blow when Evans touched down for Billingham’s third try, which he also converted to give his side a 19-8 interval lead.
And shortly after the restart Pete Evans ended Cleckheaton’s hopes of winning the game when he went over for another try.
This was followed by a yellow card shown to Jack Bickerdike and a controversial penalty try to the home side as a result.
Joe Evans then bagged himself a try to extend his side’s lead. His brother Pete Evans added the extras to make it 40-8.
Cleckheaton looked like they might capitulate in the closing stages having trailed by so many, but instead they showed resolve.
Scott Benton’s men bagged three tries in the last 10 minutes thanks to a Richard Piper hat-trick and powerful play from the Cleckheaton forwards to salvage what could prove to be a vital bonus point come the end of the season.
The Moorenders play Ilkley tomorrow (2.15pm) as they look to climb out of the relegation zone once again.