North One East: Cleckheaton 10 Morley 14

CLECKHEATON failed to take their chances in a tense North One East clash at home to Morley, who were playing for the first time in three weeks, and ended up losing to the Maroons for the first time in nine years.

Of course, the derby rivals haven't always been in the same division, but Morley's 14-10 victory, based on a virtually watertight defence, ended a run of four league defeats for them at Moorend.

The last victory for the visitors at Cleck was by 33-15 in March 2010, and home player-coach Thiu Barnard cut a disappointed figure after the final whistle here as they had the whip hand in the first half but couldn't score against clinical opponents.

The South African admitted: "The second half was the best defence we have faced all season but in the first half we had enough chances to be 20 points up.

"They got in our half twice in the first half and got six points while we could have scored three or four tries. If we had taken our chances we would have won the game.

"We just made individual errors - they weren't team errors - and if we had kept hold of the ball we would have created more chances."

Then, alluding that his team are not the finished article despite going into the game in third position to Morley's sixth, Barnard confessed: "We need to man up a bit - a couple of us went into our shells a bit when it got tough.

"When it is easy we are a good team but when it is tough we need to find something.

"Maybe a week off and one training session in two weeks didn't help but it is our own fault - we should have won that.

"In the second half they were good - give them credit - and they were just hungrier than us. We kept going right until the end but it is just disappointing."

Trailing 6-0 at half-time to two penalties by Morley fly half Mark Chester on a pitch that held up remarkably well after all the rain the previous weekend and in midweek, Cleck halved the deficit with a Dale Breakwell penalty.

But Chester popped over a third penalty, and it looked like the hosts would get nothing from the game when Morley right winger Jay West scooted over with seven minutes left.

However, centre Oli Depledge found a rare chink in the Maroons' armour to bounce free from a tackle and score four minutes later, with Dale Breakwell's conversion making it only 14-10 to the visitors.

Cleckheaton then tried to play keep ball deep in their own half - a tactic which Barnard didn't agree with.

He said: "It was stupid to keep the ball in our 22 and try and run it out. I don't know why we did that. I would have preferred us to kick it downfield.

"When we kicked long we turned it over a lot of the time but these are the things that we will learn from when we look at the video this week."

Plus points for Barnard came via the losing bonus point, which ironically keeps his team above Morley, and the season that Cleckheaton have enjoyed so far.

As for individuals, he said: "Matty Piper was outstanding, but he is always very good, and Ollie Depledge was outstanding, but the pack was a bit quiet and I was disappointed with them but we will learn from it.

"It was just individual brilliance for Ollie's try - strength and balance - but we move on to Pock away next week."

After a minute's silence ahead of Remembrance Sunday, the first half was ironically eminently forgettable, with Chester landing penalties in the sixth and 24th minutes, while Cleckheaton failed to take advantage of the sin-binning of Maroons prop Alex Fishwick in the eighth minute.

Fishwick was yellow carded by referee Kristian Garland (Yorkshire Society) for failing to allow Dale Breakwell to run anywhere near 10 metres after a tap penalty, while the closest the hosts came to a try in a half that they dominated came when they were held up in the left-hand corner in the 17th minute.

Cleckheaton lost flanker Tom Austin to a twisted knee in the 48th minute , five minutes after Dale Breakwell put them on the board, and it continued to be an afternoon of frustration for the home side.

Gus Milburn pepped them up from the bench prior to Depledge's five-pointer but, try as they might, Cleckheaton couldn't breach the Morley defence more than once, despite the best efforts of Matty Piper, Depledge, Josh Plunkett and Jack Seddon.

No 8 Darren Griffin was Morley's man of the match, while Depledge won the award for Cleckheaton.