CLECKHEATON have a recent tradition of being slow starters to a campaign – but not this season.

The Moorenders are sitting in fifth place in North One East with three wins and a draw from their five matches ahead of a home clash with sixth-placed York.

“It has been a while since we started a season as well as this but we should have won at Moortown and we should have beaten Percy Park,” said Cleckheaton’s rugby chairman Neil Gillan.

Cleckheaton go into the match full of confidence, however, after thrashing West Hartlepool 59-15 at Moorend.

“Everybody played well, we were more clinical than we have been and it was difficult picking a man of the match,” admitted Cleckheaton’s player-coach Thiu Barnard.

But York should provide a stiff test as they ended Bradford & Bingley’s unbeaten record with a 39-21 triumph at Wagon Lane last weekend.

It was York’s best display of the season so far but the Bees gave away too many penalties, and head coach Hugh Gumbs said: “You have got to manage the referee, who sees it as he sees it and if you don’t understand how he is seeing the game then you are always going to be on the wrong end of it.

“Sometimes we did silly things like going off our feet and you cannot do that in these games. It is infantile and the players have to learn from that and they will do.

“As for the tackling we were very good in periods but it is about our consistency thereafter and it is an 80-minute game and not a 40-minute game.

“We were very good at the end of the first half but were slow to respond at the start of the second half, and again you cannot do that.”

Grovians have selection problems – but not of the usual sort.

Coach Andy Hinchliffe said: “We have 26 or 27 players available for a change but skipper Ben Brown, Matthew Worrall and Anthony Griffin are not available.

“Ryan Lister will come back at scrum-half, Martyn Mitchell will be on the wing and Joe Sowden will be at No 8.”