North One East: Cleckheaton 70 Penrith 59

CLECKHEATON, who trailed 59-35 to visitors Penrith with 20 minutes left, won an extraordinary North One East match of 20 tries 70-59.

The Cumbrians came to sun-drenched Moorend with an outside chance of a play-off place if they could win and Driffield were to lose at Bradford & Bingley.

The visitors started in explosive fashion against unchanged hosts, with quick hands and pace out wide putting full back Jay Rossi over.

However, Cleckheaton countered on six minutes when a kick to the corner from Ronan Evans was gathered by Mikey Hayward, who crashed over to level the scores.

Mike Swetman kicked a penalty from close to halfway two minutes later before Hayward sped clear for his second try of the day and 13th of the season, taking Cleckheaton into a 13-5 lead.

On 17 minutes, great support play led to Penrith's second try, with No 8 Mike Raine crossing the whitewash and Matt Allinson converting.

Brad Marsden quickly scored a try for Cleckheaton after Matt Piper was stopped just short to make it 18-12 but then Penrith then went into sevens mode with two tries in four minutes through wingers Olly May and Jon Fell, earning themselves a bonus point and taking a lead that they would retain until the final five minutes.

Jamie McNaughton improved Penrith's advantage, and Allinson added two more conversions, propelling the visitors into a 3-18 lead.

Replacement Tim Mobbs took the field for Cleckheaton in place of the injured Ben Thrower and made an immediate impact, scoring his first try for the club when supporting a Swetman break to reduce the arrears to eight points.

Cleckheaton went back on the attack from the kick-off and were making great progress until a pass out wide was intercepted, with scrum half George Graham having the pace to run 70 metres and go under the posts for Penrith, with Allinson's conversion making the half-time score 38-23.

The second half started as the first had ended, with an interception by the visitors for Fell to go over for his second try, with Allinson adding the extras.

Paul Turner gave Cleckheaton hope, burrowing over for his second try of the season and then, on 55 minutes, Jack Seddon scored for Cleck after running an excellent line down the blindside.

Smoke, figuratively speaking, was starting to come out of the scoreboard as Penrith looked to have sealed a victory when May and Graham both added to their tally to give them a seemingly insurmountable lead.

But Cleckheaton showed determination beyond the cause, and Swetman started the comeback, forcing his way over the line from short range.

The same player then went in again with 12 minutes to go, converting both of them to leave a gap of just ten points.

Quick hands from one side of the pitch to the other created space for right wing Grant Fitzsimmons to cross the line, with the conversion making it 59-56 to Penrith, but Cleck knew they had just enough time.

As well as records for the most points scored in a game and the highest losing score in a game, Swetman also challenged for the quickest hat-trick in a game, going in for the third time in under 10 minutes to give Cleckheaton the lead. The restart was caught cleanly, and skipper Matt Piper added a final try for his side with under a minute left on the clock to seal an outstanding victory and extend Cleckheaton's winning run, under head coach Thiu Barnard and Swetman, to seven games.