Cleckheaton RUFC survive late Scarborough pressure to record victory

Cleckheaton RUFC were straight back to winning ways after last week’s blip against Pocklington as they consolidated their third place in the North One East with a hard-fought 34-31 success at Scarborough.

By Tony Harber
Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 12:20 pm
Dom Brambani tries to get Cleckheaton moving in their game at Scarborough. Picture: Richard Ponter
Dom Brambani tries to get Cleckheaton moving in their game at Scarborough. Picture: Richard Ponter

Victory on the coast would have been more comfortable with more kicking success as Cleckheaton ran in six tries, but only saw two of them converted.

As it was the result was in the balance until the final whistle with Cleck going down to 13 men late on after having two men sin-binned.

They held on to a hard-earned three-point lead through eight minutes of added time, however, to record a five-point victory that kept them ahead of rivals Heath in third place with just two more games to play.

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In a free flowing game it was Scarborough who scored first when an attempted kick out of defence was charged down and the bounce favoured Euan Govier who went over for an unconverted try after only two minutes.

The visitors were level on 14 minutes as Brad Marsden took clean possession at a line-out and was driven over the line for a try.

It was Scarborough’s turn to score four minutes later as they caught Cleck out with a quick line-out and second row Rennard went over unopposed. The conversion made it 12-5.

But Cleckheaton were soon back on attack with Dom Flanagan’s strong run backed up by Jack Marshall who took the offload to gallop away for his 16th try of the season.

The tries kept on coming and on 28 minutes Scarborough extended their lead with a try by Ratcliffe following a maul close to the line. The conversion hit the post and they led 17-10.

Cleckheaton then went down to 14 for 10 minutes with Ben Thrower yellow-carded for his reaction after his team had been awarded a penalty. The decision was reversed, but the home side also went down a man with their forward yellow carded too for his part in the altercation.

The game was levelled up by half-time as the Scarborough left wing was unable to deal with a kick through and Tom Hainsworth kicked the ball on before winning the race for the touchdown. Dale Breakwell landed his only goal of the day and it was 17-17 at the break.

Cleckheaton went ahead for the first time early in the second half when fly-half Breakwell came up with his first try of the season. He missed the conversion, but his team were now five points in front.

Three minutes later left wing Mikey Hayward strolled over the line after the ball was spread wide to the left with Jack Marshall creating the overlap.

Although the conversion was wide of the mark again Cleckheaton now had a 27-17 lead.

This burst proved crucial as Scarborough responded and had their best spell of the game. They drove the ball well in the pack only to be met by solid tackling, but continual prompting by the fly-half caused the visitors problems and the defence eventually cracked when Dan Boyes dived over. With the conversion following the lead was back down to three points.

For the next 10 minutes Scarborough threw everything at their opponents. Cleckheaton did not buckle this time, however, and relief was at hand when the in-form Hainsworth charged down the left to collect his second try – his 12th in his last seven matches and 18th for the season. Dom Brambani added the goal to make it 34-24.

Cleckheaton had breathing space again and they needed it as Scarborough kept plugging away and came up with another try through Joe Marshall. The conversion was good and it was all set for a nail biting finish.

Cleckheaton did not help their cause with Matt Piper being shown the yellow card for a ruck offence and Dom Flanagan then sin-binned for a deliberate knock on. But despite more home pressure they held on for a great victory.

This Saturday sees Cleckheaton playing their final home game of the season when they take on Malton and Norton, kick-off 3pm.