CLECKHEATON’S Achilles heel of giving away too many penalties contributed to their downfall in their Regional One North East derby at Ilkley.

Trailing only 9-5 at half-time in front of the splendid new scoreboard at Stacks Field, understrength Cleck conceded all of the 27 points scored in the second half, with home fly-half Charlie Ramsay knocking over two penalties to add to the three that he bagged in the opening 40 minutes.

Cleckheaton winger Jack Marshall said of the match: “It was a tough one, we tried our hardest and we just weren’t good enough, but you can’t give that many penalties away.

“It is a problem that is creeping in for us and you cannot do that against these good sides.

“However, they were not 29 points better than we were so that was all down to us.

“We looked good in the first half and were on top in the game but just couldn’t score (enough).

“At 9-5 down at the break we went into the second half feeling very positive, but didn’t get going at all.

“Our injuries didn’t help (Cleck were missing arguably their two best backs in Tom Hainsworth and Mikey Hayward).

“They don’t look like being back anytime soon, so it means we don’t get enough players down to training on a Tuesday and Thursday to work on our technique and implement what we want to do on a game-day.”

The defeat dropped Cleckheaton one place to seventh, while Ilkley remain in ninth, breathing down the necks of next week’s opponents Doncaster Phoenix.

Marshall added: “We now need to rebuild and should easily finish in the top 10.

“There are no worries about relegation from us.”

As for who impressed for the visitors, Marshall said: “James Wilson did well in the back row, Sam Cheney in the second row and prop Liam Goldthorpe when he came on.

“We should have Brad Marsden back at No.8 next weekend at least (at home to 10th-placed Paviors).”

Ilkley had full-back Ben Magee and winger Blake Morgan on loan from Otley, and Magee, deadly in broken play with his pace and footwork, was unlucky not to score in the fourth minute after cutting through.

Cleckheaton fly-half Dale Breakwell soon took a liking to kicking to Ilkley’s right wing and was influential in his side taking the lead, his accurate cross-kick being taken in by Marshall, who scored in the corner.

The lead only lasted eight minutes however, as Ramsay popped over penalties in the 11th and 14th minutes to make it 6-5 to Ilkley

The visitors then could not profit from a charge-down but lost Cheney, a recruit from Queensbury ARLFC, to a yellow card in the 26th minute for a high tackle on another Otley player, centre Kieran Wilyman.

Ramsay made it three successful penalty attempts from three as a consequence.

Cleckheaton could have both conceded a try and scored one in the remainder of the first half, with Marshall doing well to tidy up a grubber before the visitors won a penalty just before the interval, only to frustratingly knock on deep in Ilkley territory after winning the lineout.

The home side got the lift of a try early in the second half when winger Ben Walker burst through to score three minutes in, with Ramsay converting.

It soon became apparent that it was going to be a long half for Cleck.

It was also a busy one for referee Tom Hurdley, who, on more than occasion, had lengthy chats with both skippers, flanker Joe Lowes and fly-half Breakwell.

Another Ramsay penalty made it 19-5, and Morgan extended Ilkley’s lead with a converted try in the 64th minute.

Magee suffered a head cut and was forced off two minutes later, but Ilkley, more concerned with the win than a four-try bonus point, made it 29-5 with another Ramsay penalty in the 72nd minute.

The hosts got their third try seconds before the final whistle from Wilyman, with Ramsay taking his personal tally to 21 points with the conversion.