CLECKHEATON RUFC are involved in a thrilling five-way title battle at present in North One East, but head coach Thiu Barnard insists his team are focused purely on themselves, not on what any other sides are doing.

Cleck produced a statement 16-10 win at fellow high-flyers Old Brodleians last weekend, putting them just five points off the summit in fifth, and they face another tough away day at Moortown tomorrow, who have won six of their eight home games so far.

And Barnard said: “The only way you’re going to finish in the top three or four is if you win your away games, and we’ve only lost three so far.

“Moortown is not an easy place to go, everyone knows that, so we’ll do well to get a win there, but we’ve just got to focus on what we can do better than in previous weeks.

“We’re not thinking about them, and we never worry or talk about others, other than a few little tactical things, it’s all about how we can do.

“Beating Brods last week, it was only the second time they’d lost at home, and I thought our defence was very good, especially our standing defence.

“We can go a lot deeper than most teams, which makes a big difference, as we can go to places and win where other teams can’t.”

Victory over Moortown would make it three brilliant away wins since Christmas for Cleckheaton, after Morpeth and Old Brodleians, but even a defeat would hardly be disastrous, given the generosity of next year’s league restructure.

Barnard said: “I’m not certain, but I think the top four or five in our division all go up automatically at the end of this season.

“We’ve just got to look after ourselves, and if we win the title, that’d be a bonus.

“I don’t actually think we will come top, but the top three have all still got to play each other, and I guess you never know what’s going to happen.”

Cleckheaton had a particularly sticky October results-wise, but have been flying over the last three months.

Barnard explained: “We changed up our training plan and the way we were playing about seven weeks before Christmas, and we’ve only lost twice since then.

“Even then, we were a bit unlucky in both of those games, especially against (third-placed) Ilkley a fortnight ago, who we lost 21-17 at home to.

“We picked up a couple of injuries last weekend, so we’ve got a man missing at loosehead prop and one in the second row.

“(Forward) Andy Piper breaking his arm against Ilkley was a blow for us, but injuries happen and we’re just taking things game by game

“We’re not worried about what’s coming up, either at Moortown or in the rest of the season.”

Elsewhere in North One East tomorrow, rock-bottom Bradford & Bingley host fellow strugglers Consett.

In Yorkshire One, bottom side Bradford Salem visit mid-table West Leeds.

League leaders Keighley face a tricky trip to home specialists Wheatley Hills in Yorkshire Two, with in-form Old Grovians hosting sixth-placed Yarnbury and Baildon at bottom of the table Thornensians.

Finally, in Yorkshire Three, Wibsey host fifth-placed Knottingley.