Tom Hainsworth leads way in Cleckheaton 12-try romp against Bradford & Bingley

Cleckheaton showed no signs of ring rust as they made a highly successful return to action after a couple of blank weekends.

By Tony Harber
Tuesday, 8th March 2022, 2:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th March 2022, 2:38 pm
Hat-trick hero Tom Hainsworth raced over for three tries in Cleckheaton’s demolition of Bradford & Bingley. Picture: John Clifton
Hat-trick hero Tom Hainsworth raced over for three tries in Cleckheaton’s demolition of Bradford & Bingley. Picture: John Clifton

The North One East promotion contenders blew bottom of the table Bradford & Bingley away in a 12-try blitz that showed a gulf in class between the two teams.

The Bees were welcomed to Moorend for the first time since 2018 and their gallant but outgunned team were no match for a rampant home side who went on to record their biggest win for a number of years as they ran out 78-8 winners.

Cleckheaton had the benefit of a settled team and were fresh in their first game for three weeks. They made a flying start in winning possession from a line-out through Bradley Marsden before skipper Richard Piper took the ball on to cross for an fourth minute try, which was converted by Dale Breakwell.

Bradford & Bingley quickly hit back when they landed a penalty goal from 20 metres out, but were soon back defending and conceding again as Dom Brambani completed a good move for another try that was improved by Breakwell.

The scoring continued when flanker Joe Flanagan sliced through the Bees defence and Breakwell’s third goal made it 21-3 after just 16 minutes.

The visitors, who have been winless all season, were already looking dispirited by this early onslaught and it did not get any better for them with three more tries in eight minutes.

First, Tom Hainsworth blasted through the defence down the left wing then it was Jack Marshall on the opposite wing getting in on the try action.

Hainsworth produced another strong run to go over for his second try and the tenth of his excellent season.

Breakwell converted two of the tries and hit the post with the other attempt, leaving the score at 40-3 on 28 minutes.

There was no first half let up from Cleck as Dom Flanagan was next to score after racing clear of the overworked Bees defence. It was his ninth try of the season and Breakwell again tagged on the extras.

Bradford & Bingley enjoyed a brief respite and surprised their hosts when they scored a try themselves following a defensive miscue on Cleckheaton’s right.

But it was back to business as Hainsworth completed his hat-trick and Breakwell goaled to make it 54-8 at half-time.

With the points in the bag, Niall Jackson replaced Will Denham and Ryan Piercy came on for Thiu Barnard for the second half.

The one-way traffic continued with Josh Plunkett crossing the line within two minutes of the restart and Breakwell adding yet another conversion.

The next score went to hooker Archie Rika Rayne who gathered at the front of a line-out to plunge over for another try that was converted by Breakwell.

The game had to go to uncontested scrums around the hour mark after the Bees lost their replacement front row forward to injury. But the home team continued their assault on the visitors’ line with Marshall racing over for his second try of the afternoon. Brambani took over the goal kicking duties and sent the ball wide from the left of the posts.

It was Brambani who completed the scoring with his second try after backing up good work by Plunkett and Rika Rayne.

Breakwell, who had returned to the game as a blood replacement for Joe Flanagan, missed the last kick, but did end with nine conversions to his name.

To their credit the Bees did not stop trying and had the better of the possession late on without being able to add to their points tally.

Hat-trick star Hainsworth was chosen as the man of the match and he was awarded his first XV tie afterwards for making 20 appearances. Rika Rayne also got his 20 game tie.

Cleckheaton, who are now up to fourth place after Old Brodleians lost to Driffield, will be looking to make it five wins in a row when they make the short travel for a derby game at Morley this Saturday (kick-off 3pm).