North One East: Cleckheaton 20 Morpeth 14

CLECKHEATON made it six wins in their last six matches in North One East with this defeat of fifth-placed Morpeth, also avenging a heavy defeat from earlier in the season.

Ben Thrower and Mike Hayward returned to the home side's starting line- up after the previous week’s win at Percy Park, replacing James Crowther and Craig Blackburn.

Cleckheaton kicked off in spring-like sunshine but were put under early pressure by a very mobile Morpeth pack, although these attacks failed to trouble the scoreboard.

On 12 minutes, James Wilson and Hayward combined down the right-hand side and Matt Piper cut through on a diagonal to cross for a fine try, which was converted by Mike Swetman to give Cleckheaton a 7-0 lead.

A midfield battle was developing with some excellent defence by both teams, but on 23 minutes, Cleckheaton had a scrum feed 15 metres from their own line, which Morpeth disrupted, winning a penalty.

Ben Hornby was successful with the goal to make it 7-3, but although Mike Swetman pulled a 30-metre penalty to the left of the posts, he was more accurate with a superb kick to the corner, with the bounce just eluding a flying Hayward.

Trailing by four points at half-time, Morpeth started the second half in Cleck territory, and when the home team were penalised for a high tackle, Hornby kicked the penalty to make it 7-6.

The same player should have given Morpeth the lead when Cleckheaton were penalised 25 metres out but he pulled the ball to the left of the posts to give Cleckheaton a reprieve.

This was short-lived, however, as on 56 minutes a loose ball from a scrum and a kick ahead led to a try for Morpeth full back Johnny Ward.

Trailing 11-7, Cleckheaton retained their composure, and soon after the restart Morpeth conceded a penalty, making it worse for themselves by back-chatting to the the referee to gift Cleckheaton a further 10 metres.

Prop Andy Piper took a quick tap and drove the ball in, and Swetman fed Matt Piper on the charge, who slipped a ball out of the back of his hand in contact for Wilson to collect and score, regaining the lead for Cleckheaton.

Swetman's added the extras to make it 14-11 but the home side's penalty count was a factor as Morpeth piled on the pressure, and Hornby levelled matters with a 62nd-minute kick.

After good work by scrum half Jack Bickerdike, Wilson and man of the match Brad Marsden, however, Morpeth gave away a penalty, which Swetman kicked to give Cleckheaton a three-point lead going into the final 10 minutes.

A further Swetman penalty two minutes from time sealed a fine win and propelled the club into sixth place in the league as Bridlington lost at home to Bradford & Bingley.