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Cleckheaton hit by Beverley comeback
Beverley 29 Cleckheaton 19
Beverley came back from the dead to gain a bonus-point win against a Cleckheaton side which, on balance, were the better outfit.
Iain Gordon rewarded the visitors’ early enterprise with two penalties.
In the 24th minute, Beverley made their first foray into Cleckheaton territory and, from a line-out, big prop Manu Kirkwood was driven over for a try.
Cleck hit back when Martin Woodhead was given the space to score a try out wide. Gordon converted and, five minutes later, added a penalty to open up an 11-point lead.
The half had been all the visitors but winger James Wilson was sent to the sin bin before the interval. Beverley were given a lifeline when poor tackling allowed back row Dave Worrall to burst through for an individual try, which was converted by Phil Duboulay.
Gordon struck another penalty before the break but Beverley had their tails up.
Cleckheaton had carried out their game plan almost to the letter in the first half with a dominant pack and Iain Gordon kicking into space to put Beverley under pressure.
However with Wilson still in the sin bin Worrall once more showed his strength to score a try converted by Duboulay.
The visitors began to panic under pressure for the first time in the match but this lack of composure was ultimately to prove their undoing.
With ten minutes remaining Duboulay put Beverley into the lead for the first time with a penalty and, as Cleckheaton strove to stem the onslaught, full back Richard Bussey went over for a try which Duboulay duly converted to give his side a victory.
It was very harsh on a Cleckheaton team which had more than matched their high-ranking hosts.