Pipers lead way to Cleck success

Morpeth 12

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 21st October 2010, 3:44 pm

Cleckheaton 22

CLECKHEATON left Morpeth with another bonus point win, extending their unbeaten run to five games.

Playing up the hill in the first half Cleckheaton’s forwards dominated.

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Mark Sergeant made a nuisance of himself whenever Morpeth had the ball and Ryan Piercy led a stonewall defence. The front three of Dave Furniss, Steve Worsley and Andy Piper applied the pressure to their opponents and took a number of scrums against the head.

Cleckheaton’s superiority in the pack provided dividends after just five minutes when Dave Freeman, providing lineout possession, set up a maul which allowed the ball to be rumbled upfield.

A quick pass allowed Ross Hayden enough space to make a 40-yard break. The ball was quickly recycled and Matt Piper dived in for Cleckheaton’s opening score.

Cleckheaton’s five-point lead was cut a few minutes later when Morpeth full-back and most dangerous player, Matty Jinks landed a penalty as the referee spotted ‘hands in the ruck’.

Cleckheaton lost promising young wingman James Wilson, with what proved to be a broken leg and to make things worse, they went behind following a long-range penalty from Jinks.

The Moorenders continued to concede too many penalties. This allowed Morpeth to use the wind to clear their lines and despite the strong running of Mitch Ashworth, returning the ball with interest, the home side were able to gain further advantage on the scoreboard.

Two more kicks from Jinks in the final 10 minutes of the half put Morpeth 12-5 ahead at half-time.

Cleckheaton started the second period with the wind at their backs and the stern words of coach Dave Harrison, ringing in their ears.

The half-time lecture had the desired effect as Cleckheaton eradicated the foul play that had kept Morpeth in the game and put in a workman-like performance to secure the points.

Johnno Marshall was first to score when Morpeth’s lineout ball was disrupted and quick hands from Ollie Depledge and Iain Gordon sent Pete Murphy slicing through.

The player-coach found Marshall in support to reduce the arrears to two points.

Simon Quinn joined the fray from the bench, replacing Carl Mason and was quickly thrust into the action when he tidied up a Morpeth lineout ball, which had been overthrown by the home hooker.

Cleckheaton’s backs took the ball to Morpeth and a succession of quick rucks gave Furniss, Worsley and Freeman the opportunity to gain valuable metres before the ball was passed to Matt Piper, who crossed for his second of the afternoon. Matt’s brother and captain, Richard Piper, completed Cleckheaton’s try tally with his now almost customary score from the back of a maul, following a solid catch and drive.

This was a fine team performance for this rapidly improving side, who were resplendent in new club shirt and tie after the game, and gave reason for the small but passionate supporting contingent to feel rightly proud.