Jack Marshall leads Cleckheaton RUFC's final day scoring spree against Durham City

Cleckheaton wrapped up an excellent season in good style when they put their hosts to the sword after travelling to Durham City for their final North One East match.

By Tony Harber
Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 11:32 am

A 68-21 victory was a fitting way to end a campaign in which Cleckheaton have been challenging for honours throughout.

The result ensured they finished in fourth, level on points with third-placed Driffield and just one behind Heath in second with Ilkley winning the title and still having one more game to play.

With a restructure of the leagues about to happen it is not clear yet whether Cleckheaton’s efforts have earned them promotion as they await confirmation about which league they will play in next season.

Jack Marshall raced in for four tries in Cleckheaton’s final game of the season. Picture: Jim Fitton

For their final match Brad Marsden moved to number eight in Richard Piper’s absence, Dom Flanagan returned on the wing with Jack Marshall at full-back. Robin Bennett started at blind side flanker and Ben Thrower was making his 200th appearance for the club.

After an even first quarter the first sign of what was to come saw Thiu Barnard emerge with the ball on 20 minutes to open the scoring with an unconverted try.

Durham hit back with a similar try after some good close quarter mauling and went in front with the successful goal. But from that point Cleckheaton dominated, particularly in the scrums.

They were back ahead when good work from Dale Breakwell and Dom Brambani put Dom Flanagan into space and his inside pass sent Marshall over for his 19th try of the season.

With Breakwell adding the extras the visitors were 12-7 ahead and were not to lose their lead again.

A grubber kick through saw Marshall win a race to touch down again and a minute later the bonus point was secured with Mike Hayward crossing for his 20th try of the season.

Breakwell converted both tries and it was 26-7 at half-time.

Cleckheaton’s pack domination continued after the break and Josh Plunkett picked up at the base of a scrum to go over for a try goaled by Breakwell.

Marshall then completed his hat-trick after a quick tap penalty and a kick pass by Breakwell caught the home defence napping and Breakwell added another goal.

Two minutes later Archie Rika Rayne charged over after good work by Joe Flanagan and Brambani, with Breakwell’s goal making it 47-7.

Durham worked hard to stem the flow and they made a rare incursion into the Cleck half to score a converted try.

But it was soon back to business for the visitors with Tom Hainsworth blasting through a tiring defence to race over for his 19th try of the season.

Breakwell again added the goal and within a minute was on target once more after Brambani crossed the line for his seventh try of the campaign.

Durham managed a consolation try five minutes from time before Cleckheaton fittingly had the last word with Marshall ensuring he finished as top try scorer by collecting his 21st of the season and fourth of the day after a comedy of errors resulting from a kick out of defence by Brambani which after several attempts to pick up by Durham was hacked on by Marshall who eventually strolled over.

Breakwell added his ninth conversion from 10 attempts to complete the scoring and a fine season for Cleckheaton who after a sticky start finished with 19 victories and just seven defeats.