Wyke 14 Clayton 22

THE half-time introduction of player-coach Scott Pendlebury provided the impetus for a Clayton victory in their combative Pennine League Division Two Central derby at Wyke.

The hosts enjoyed a bright start playing up the slope but fell behind when Clayton scrum half Jake Barnes put a short kick over the black and whites defence.

This was collected by second-row forward Matt Baldwin, who flashed a long pass out wide to put wingman Gareth Jacklin over in the corner.

Wyke centre Alister Kittsen earned himself a spell in the sin-bin for unwarranted comments to the match official.

But they made light of the reduction in numbers when hooker Jordan Payton placed a raking cross-field punt into the wide open spaces to give wingman Dan Worby a clear run to the whitewash to level the score at 4-4.

The visitors' outstanding packman Baldwin tested the home resolve with a 20-metre dash towards the sticks before setting up the chance for wingman Michael Cunliffe to squeeze in at the flag, thus regaining an 8-4 advantage at the interval.

The arrival of old war horse Pendlebury immediately bore fruit on the restart as he legitimately stripped the ball from Payton's grasp with the line at his mercy.

But the clever Wyke hooker still had a varied selection of kicks in his tool bag to put a precision tip into the corner, allowing wingman Cameron Foster to outjump two defenders to pounce and add a double bonus with a brilliant touchline conversion.

Wyke expectations were high after taking the lead for the first time but their hopes took another turn for the worst when Pendlebury spotted a narrow gap in the home rearguard to burrow his way to the chalk, leaving Barnes to slot over the extras.

The monumental Baldwin's ability to create havoc came to the fore once more when he collected a high bomb to set up the chance for substitute Oliver McElroy to scamper in to massage the total to 18-10.

But Wyke were very much back in contention when Payton reefed out the ball in a one-on-one tackle to sprint to the line.

The last ten minutes saw both sides go hammer and tongs but it was the visitors who kept their cool, with Barnes adding a further two penalties to see them deservedly home with eight points to spare.