Win could kick-start Cleck promotion challenge

CLECKHEATON return to action in North One East tomorrow against Team Northumbria at Moorend (2.15pm) with hopes of adding to a good recent run.

Coach Dave Harrison and his assistant Pete Murphy discussed plans this week and the aim is to win their three remaining games before Christmas to gain a base for what they hope will be a promotion challenge in the second half if the season.

Harrison said: “Three wins going up to Christmas would give us around 45 points and could reel in some of the leading teams.

Our slip-ups in the early part of the campaign probably mean we need some of those ahead of us to lose some games but we also have to play them and that gives us a chance.

“We seem to have developed a good habit of when we win they are five-pointers and that is a big help.

“Our win at Middlesbrough in the last game was a good effort, they were a big side but the lads dealt with the challenge very well and their fitness levels showed through in the second half.

“If we keep on playing like that we are in with a chance of shaking the leading clubs. We are trying to keep a settled squad and make as few changes as possible because the players have developed a good rhythm.

“We have said all along that we can play when we want to. Most opposing teams know this and we are beginning to prove the point.”

Tomorrow’s visitors are struggling at the foot of the table with just one win in their 12 games and have the worst defensive record in the league.

It seems a good chance for the Moorenders to collect another five-point success and continue their surge up the table.

Big second row man Dave Freeman will again be on the bench but is set to come on around the half-time mark.

It is felt that he needs to get back to full match fitness after his stint in Afghanistan before starting a game.

Similarly Ross Hayden will also be among the substitutes after missing the last two weeks with a foot injury but he too is set to make an appearance perhaps early in the second half as the squad strength steadily improves and there is competition for places.

Winger Lee Queeley, whose showed his finishing strength with the final try at Middlesbrough, is missing as he is in Germany with the RAF.

With the first team having a fixture blank last weekend some of the squad appeared in the Kestrels. James Wilson was on the wing and Matt Piper was at centre with Chris Piper in the front row.

A late withdrawal meant the side were without a hooker so at short notice Richard Piper readily stepped into a position he played in regularly when he was coming up through the ranks.

That gives an idea of the spirit at Moorend and the efforts in the past couple of years to develop that bond are beginning to pay dividends on and off the field.

SELECTED SIDES

1st XV v Team Northumbria, kick off 2.15pm, meet 12.45pm: J Marshall, J Wilson, M Piper, P Murphy, C Blackburn, I Gordon, O Depledge, P Turner, S Worsley, C Piper, J Gioti, G Turton, R Piercy, E Cheppelow, R Piper. Replacements: D Freeman, R Hayden, B Thrower.

Kestrels at Wheatley Hills, kick off 2.15pm, meet noon: T Brook, A Bullen, T Crewe, G Lamb, D Graham, J Toulson, M Fletcher, D Furniss, R Motlib, L Haigh, P Halloran, M Beasty, R Depledge, R Bennett, M Sargeant. Replacements: L Beasty, W Denham, C Davis.

3rd XV at Huddersfield YMCA 2nd XV, kick off 2.15pm, meet 12.45pm: S Womersley, C Wilson, A Edwards, S Smith, A Smith, J Duggan, R Noble, C Mason, J Porritt, A Corfield, M Wood, M Womersley, L Ashley, J Close, M Terry. Replacements: R Simpson, S Roberts, A Lowe.

4th XV v Wath 3rd XV, kick off 2.15pm, meet 1.15pm: A Ellis, A Brown, A Clarke, D Webb, A Tilby-Baxter, B Womersley, A Robinson, B Thornton, F Loker, A Womersley, I Webb, J Womersley, D Terry, M Nicholson, R Oldroyd. Replacement: S Fletcher.