Northern 13 Cleckheaton 26

Cleckheaton edged closer to the league title with this bonus-point victory.

They need one more point from their last three games to guarantee top place.

Northern took an early lead with a penalty from Donal Collins and a converted try extended their lead to ten points inside the first quarter.

In response the visitors showed their character with three first-half tries from Jack Bickerdike, Martin Woodhead and returning skipper Richard Piper.

Ross Hayden converted two of the tries and a penalty from Collins for the hosts gave Cleckheaton a 19-13 lead at the break.

Despite much endeavour from both sides, the second half remained scoreless until the 71st minute when Matt Piper scored the all-important fourth try following excellent work from Rob Afoa Peterson, Hayden adding the extras.

Cleckheaton’s success story extends deeper than just their first team as all four senior sides won their respective matches yesterday.

Fixture secretary Alan Bentley said: “The results in themselves are not the important point but the fact that all four teams were fielded in the first place, with replacements for all of them.

“When you add this to the fact that each team has played more than 20 games this season, the seconds and thirds are both in the top four of their respective leagues and the fourths are to rejoin the Aire-Wharfe merit table next season, the club is a happy and motivated place with a direction which seems to contrast with the game in the rest of the country where number of participants is falling.”

"In fact, the Cleckheaton story can be further enhanced when you add the fact that the cricket team won the Bradford League title last season and that the bowls club is to host the British Crown Green Bowling finals this summer.

"It is a success story to be matched by few and to be celebrated by those who work so hard to make it happen."