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Toughest tests for Cleckheaton are imminent
Cleckheaton may have a nap hand of victories from as many attempts in SSE North One East but fixture secretary Alan Bentley isn’t counting any chickens yet.
The Moorenders, whose game last week at Wheatley Hills was abandoned seven minutes in after referee Simon Park fractured a patella, are third in the table and host West Hartlepool on Saturday, who have won five out of six and lie second behind Pocklington, who have won all six of their matches.
“If we are still unbeaten by mid-November, then we can take some confidence,” said Bentley.
“We haven’t played any of the top teams yet, but coming up are West Hartlepool, Pocklington, Huddersfield YMCA and Old Crossleyans, and they will all be very difficult matches.”
Cleckheaton are again without influential centre Lee Queeley due to RAF commitments, so James Marshall is at 13 and Martin Woodhead comes in on the wing.
Bradford & Bingley’s director of rugby Henry Paul has taken heart from last weekend’s display against SSE National League Three North leaders Rossendale at Wagon Lane, despite the 27-10 scoreline.
Paul said: “It was a lot better team performance in terms of discipline and defence and the way we played our structures.
“Rossendale didn’t create a lot of opportunities and we benefited from having a settled side. We hope to take the same squad to Sandal.”
Keighley hope to build on their 20-18 home victory over Pontefract – their first win of the season in SSE Yorkshire Division One – at York.
There is also action at Wagon Lane as the Bumble Bees Barbarians take on a Baildon Select XV (1.00).
The Jenny Laners hope as near as possible to field their 1999 Yorkshire Silver Trophy-winning team.
Players confirned so far are Phil Wilson, Nick Murphy, Chris Smithies, Dave Hemming, James Lyons, James Dawson and Richard Moorhouse.
Other former first-team players taking part include Martin Hemingway, Anthony St John Perrow, Steve McHugh, Matt Waddington and Richard Kendall.
The remainder of the team are age- grade coaches such as Craig Shaw (formerly of Ilkley and under-12s coach), Nik Blakey (formerly of Bradford & Bingley and under-sevens coach), Chris Williams (formerly of Bradford & Bingley and under-14s coach) and Paul Baildon (Baildon Timber and Baildon Runners).
Cleckheaton (home to West Hartlepool): R Hayden; J Wilson, James Marshall, Matt Piper, M Woodhead; Michael Piper, J Bickerdike; P Turner, B Thrower, C Piper, R Piercy, G Turton, R Afoa Peterson, R Piper, O Akroyd. Replacements: A Piper, A Dawson, R Bennett.
Keighley (at York): A Brown; L Kelly, M Ferrazzano, B Blackwell, A Horsfall; D McGee, I Woodwiss; C Spencer, W Armitage, M Hagyard, J Hannah, S Welch, S Minikin, L Sugden, T Lowther. Replacements: L Carter, S Brown, P Sinfield.
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