Cleckheaton's captain Rob Afoa Peterson provides a boost

Connor Malarkey is only on the bench for Bradford Salem due to a speed awareness course in Sheffield

Connor Malarkey is only on the bench for Bradford Salem due to a speed awareness course in Sheffield

First published in Sport Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Sports Reporter

Cleckheaton can take a large step towards a return to the national leagues on Saturday.

The SSE North One East leaders host second-placed Huddersfield YMCA in a match that should have been played last Saturday.

Despite having five points deducted for an incident against Malton & Norton two seasons ago, the Moorenders still lead their derby rivals by 16 points with seven matches remaining.

“If we win, it give us a massive leg-up towards promotion,” admitted Cleckheaton’s fixture secretary Alan Bentley.

The importance of the match can be gauged by the fact that player-coach Rob Afoa Peterson has delayed a holiday to make himself available for what was originally a non-league Saturday.

“That shows good team spirit, and it means that we are unchanged,” said Bentley.

“We are also hoping that Rob will come back from holiday to play at Pocklington a week on Saturday.

As far as the pitch is concerned, Bentley said: “We had already put five tons of sand on the pitch before last weekend and have added some more.”

Bradford Salem’s SSE Yorkshire Division Two match at Roundhegians has also been shunted back a week due to a waterlogged pitch, which, unlike Cleckheaton, has inevitably led to some unavailabilities.

First-team manager Neil Klenk explained: “Our skipper James Cunliffe is a teacher and is at Twickenham, which is something he couldn’t get out of, while prop Dave Luxton is getting married later this year and has a family commitment down south.

“Meanwhile, Connor Malarkey is on a speed awareness course in Sheffield on Saturday morning, and we have therefore only named him on the bench.”

John Morrell replaces Cunliffe, Alex Wood comes in for Malarkey and switches to the wing so that Tom Barnes can play centre, while Simon Davies is at prop.

Cleckheaton (home to Huddersfield YMCA): R Hayden; M Woodhead, J Wilson, Matt Piper, James Marshall; Michael Piper, J Bickerdike; P Turner, B Thrower, A Piper, G Turton, A Fawson, R Piercy, O Akroyd, R Afoa Peterson. Replacements: C Piper, J Seddon, O Depledge.

Bradford Salem (at Roundhegians): D Belcher; A Sutcliffe, T Barnes, D Pearson, A Wood; A Robinson, T Franklin; J Bradbury, A Veitch, S Davies, J Morrell, R Green, J Booth, K Falwasser, J Fawcett. Replacements: C Malarkey, S Markey J Ashworth.

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