FOR a side that have lost all 18 of their North One East matches this season and have conceded a total of 974 points, Bradford & Bingley’s spirit is nothing short of remarkable.

They looked set to concede north of 100 points at fifth-placed Cleckheaton on Saturday when they trailed 66-8 with over half an hour remaining.

However, a side filled with youngsters, including debutants in Dan Lightowler and colt Sam Bryan, ramped up their tackling and put together some decent phases when in possession to only concede a further 12 points.

Lock Joe Daley, 25, feared the worst when Cleckheaton went into a 54-8 interval lead, admitting: “At half-time I was thinking, ‘here we go again’, but we had to keep going, and as one of the senior players I had to try and do something for the younger ones.

“We hadn’t played for three or four weeks so we were always likely to make a slow start but in the second half we had to hit our tackles, get up in D (defence) a bit faster and carry with a bit more conviction.

“The game was gone so it was what we could get out of it. We managed to avoid a ton but credit to Cleckheaton. They played really, really well and didn’t stop.”

Despite all Bradford & Bingley’s travails, however, Daley admits that he does not want to play for anyone else, and realises how important the rest of the campaign is for the Bees’ future.

He said: “To say that we are such an inexperienced side to stick at it like that when you have been put to the sword is tough, but we have just got to keep our chins up until the end of the season and then rebuild, and there is talk of things improving and people coming in next season.

“The lads who play have a love for the club.

“We have all played together since we were 16 or 17, and that keeps us going, but in the back of our minds we know that we have to carry on for there to be a club to come back to next season. If we don’t then there is not.

“And the facilities are improving at Wagon Lane, although the floods don’t help.

“We are a well set-up club but we should be going far, far better than we are.”

A rampant Cleckheaton saw their first-half tries come courtesy of centres Tom Hainsworth (3) and Dominic Brambani, No. 8 Richard Piper, flanker Joe Flanagan, full back Jack Marshall and winger Dom Flanagan, with fly half Dale Breakwell adding seven conversions and hitting the near post with the one that he missed.

Replies for the Bees came from full back Dom Walker with a penalty and left winger Ryan Wilson with a try after the ball was dislodged in a tackle.

Cleckheaton, who rose one place to fourth after a defeat for Old Brodleians at Driffield, added tries by hooker Archie Rika-Rayne (2), Marshall and Brambani in the second half, with the game going to uncontested scrums after an injury to Bees prop Alex Leadbeater, who caught a stray knee.

Breakwell added two conversions to take his total for the afternoon to nine.

In Yorkshire Two, leaders Keighley beat Old Grovians 31-14, while Baildon crushed struggling Ripon 75-0.

Wibsey continue to have a hard time getting a side out in Yorkshire Three, and they had to gift hosts West Park Leeds a walkover win on Saturday.