HAVING made the not inconsiderable effort of travelling to York for their first-round Yorkshire Cup tie in November, when some within the club wanted them to forfeit the match, Cleckheaton have given Wharfedale a walkover in tomorrow’s quarter-final.

The Moorenders, who have lost their last six matches since a notable victory at a freezing Bradford & Bingley in December, are giving priority to their battle against relegation from North One East, while injuries have also played a big part in their decision.

Cleckheaton rugby chairman Neil Gillan explained: “We picked up a couple of injuries last Saturday in our 24-20 home defeat to York – to pacy winger Danny Booth and 19-year-old prop Henry Iwanejao – and we are already without scrum-half Jack Bickerdike, who popped a shoulder the week before at West Leeds and will be out for a few weeks.

“In addition we suffered another injury at that game, while second row or back row Matt Deighton dislocated a shoulder before Christmas and hooker Tim Mobbs has had to retire from the sport as two vertebrae in his neck need fusing.

“If we had lost to Wharfedale it wouldn’t have done our morale any good by losing to a second team (Wharfedale Foresters would have been their opponents), while if we had won we would have had another fixture to fit in.”

Gillan added: “We are only two points above the relegation zone and need to put all of our efforts into avoiding dropping into Yorkshire Division One.”

While Consett, who only have 19 points, seem doomed, Gillan is not giving Bridlington much chance of surviving either, even though they have double the number of Consett’s points.

He said: “Looking at their fixtures, I can only see Bridlington winning one more game, but West Leeds, who are also on 38 points, are a different matter.

“They won 30-20 at Huddersfield YMCA last week and I can see them winning three or four of their last seven matches, and we are only on 40 points with six matches left and the bottom three to go down.”

In what has proved another bad weekend for the Yorkshire Cup, two other quarter-final ties have been forfeited – Malton & Norton to Sheffield and Sheffield Tigers to Sandal, which leaves Harrogate v Ilkley as the only survivor.

Old Grovians will observe a minute’s silence for former player Tom Dalton before tomorrow’s re-arranged Yorkshire Division Two match at home to 12th-placed Roundhegians.

“He was not even 30,” said Grovians’ assistant coach Dan Nulty.

Grovians’ recent fortunes can be simplified to play a regular XV and win, play a much-changed XV and lose.

Ninth-placed Old Grovians lost 51-11 at Wetherby last week with a vastly different line-up but had won their previous four matches with a steady XV.

Nulty said: “It is not rocket science, and was the same last season when we played an identical XV for 11 weeks in a row and won ten of them.

“It just breeds that familiarity of people knowing what their team-mates are doing, whereas last week we didn’t know what we were doing defensively.”

Grovians are missing Alex Masterson (concussion), Charlie Cockshott (broken leg), Alex Woodhead (torn shoulder ligaments), Jack Hartley (torn bicep) and Max Kennedy (unavailable) but back comes fly-half Nathan Barr.

Yorkshire Division Four Premier leaders Wibsey continue their quest for promotion with a trip to York RI, who took over third place from Knaresborough last weekend by beating them 12-5.