North One East: Cleckheaton 23 Driffield 17

This North One East match was preceded by a sell-out ladies' lunch, which it is hoped will raise about £2,000 for charity Sapper Support, who are Cleckheaton RUFC's shorts sponsor for the 2019-20 season.

Sapper Support are the only 24/7 helpline that is staffed by veterans and 999 personnel, and they give emotional and physical support to sufferers of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and other associated mental health issues.

Charity founder Tim Evers reckons that they perhaps saved 50 lives last year but giving money to the charity was not the only plea to come out of this clash between the second-placed hosts - who wore a special kit in honour of Sapper Support on the day - and third-placed visitors.

"I want to play in these shirts for the rest of the season because they are really comfy," said Cleckheaton skipper Matty Piper after their 23-17 victory gave them a two-point lead over Moortown, who rose to third after a tea-time 26-10 win over Kendal at Yarnbury's RUFC's artificial grass pitch.

Cleckheaton's head coach Thiu Barnard, who is doing an Ironman triathlon in the summer with Evers to raise money for Sapper Support, said: "In the second half we defended really well but in the first half we should have been 30-5 up instead of 20-5 if we had been more clinical.

"That lead was enough but we knew that the second half was going to be tough into the wind and we played pretty well and just rode it out. We take the four points and move on."

Driffield got the first try of the second half but Barnard confessed: "I was not worried at 20-12 up.

"We did well to get that penalty (to make it 23-12) but you can see why Driffield are in the top five, and they played pretty well.

"We just had too much for them but losing flanker Joey Carley so early to an ankle injury was not as disruptive as I thought.

"We had to put a hooker (Ben Thrower) into the second row as he was our man of the match. It is good to see the character of the team."

Cleckheaton, playing downwind in the first half, took the lead with a penalty by fly half Dale Breakwell in the eighth minute, with the effort just having the legs to make it over the bar from just inside the Driffield half on the diagonal.

Three minutes later, centre Ollie Depledge flirted with the right-hand touchline before giving full back James Wilson an inside pass that put him through for the first try, with Dale Breakwell adding the conversion.

In the 20th minute, scrum half Tom Breakwell - brother of Dale - was taken out off the ball and Dale popped over the penalty to extend the lead to 13-0.

However, good continuity by Driffield led to lock Alex Cullen powering over six minutes later, although fly half James Watts could not add the conversion.

Cleckheaton's defence had to show their mettle to prevent a second Driffield try before half-time and their endeavours were rewarded with a try out of nothing for right winger Jack Marshall following a mazy 55-metre run.

The hosts showed attacking intent three minutes into the second half when No 8 Jack Seddon intercepted and crossed the halfway line, but his inside pass went over the head of both Driffield defenders and Thrower.

In the 46th minute, a late tackle on Tom Breakwell led to a melee that caused referee Laurence Pearson to talk to both skippers, flanker Rob Mewburn (Driffield) and Matt Piper.

Wilson almost benefited from a break by left winger Mikey Hayward for the hosts but nerves were tighter for them after winger Ben Blacker scored for Driffield on the hour, making the score 20-12.

Not only did Cleckheaton's defence hold out against stern pressure but they looked after the ball better when they did get possession.

A Dale Breakwell penalty five minutes into stoppage time made it 23-12 but Driffield earned a losing bonus point with a Blacker try two minutes later.

Dale Breakwell then kicked off and drilled the ball into the floor so hard that it bounced over a Driffield player into touch to seal the home win, thus ending a run of three straight defeats against Driffield at Moorend.

Barnard added: "I have no idea of how Jack Marshall got through for his try - I will have to watch the video - while James Wilson's try was well worked on the blindside with good handling and good vision."

As for keeping the play-off berth that they now occupy, he said: "It is all about us at the moment as we cannot catch York but let's see where we are in five weeks' time."