CLECKHEATON were unable to ease their drop fears as they lost 43-41 at already-relegated Consett in North One East.

In their first ever visit to Amethyst Park, the hosts played with the wind at their backs in the first half, while Cleck played with very little wind in their sails at all.

Onlookers could be forgiven for confusing which side were already down and which side were fighting for survival as the Spen Valley men trailed 14-0 after less than ten minutes.

Cleckheaton eventually got a foothold inside the opposition 22 as the front row powered forward, with props Andy Piper and Paul Turner making good ground before Ben Thrower forced his way over the line.

Consett’s Nick Cook extended his team’s lead to 17-5 with the first of five successful penalty kicks as a Cleckheaton player tried to disrupt play from an offside position.

Midway through the half a neat kick from Dale Breakwell found Danny Booth who offloaded to Mike Swetman for a score in the corner.

Cleck were briefly within seven points of Consett before a kick through from the home side found Henry Race quickest to react and he went in for his second try.

Cook, who came off the field with a 100 per cent record with the boot, improved Consett’s lead to 24-10.

The final act of the half was another gift courtesy of needless foul play from Cleckheaton, leaving them trailing 27-10 at the break.

Cleckheaton’s half-time team talk seemed to have effect. Ryan Piercy’s marshalling of the ball at the back of a maul following a lineout saw him crash over the line.

A no-arm tackle from Jack Seddon reversed the Moorenders' fortune, gifting Cook another three points, but then Booth latched onto a Breakwell kick for his 12th try of the season. Breakwell’s conversion narrowed the scores to 30-24.

Moments later, quick hands down the right by Ollie Depledge put Mikey Hayward across in the corner for his 12th try of the campaign and, when Breakwell added a towering kick from the touchline, Cleck had worked their way back into a slender lead.

Consett were not done and were once again assisted by Cleckheaton’s indiscipline, which leaked another three points.

The home team went in again to extend their lead to 40-31 with seven minutes to go.

Cleck coach Thiu Barnard moved Swetman to outside centre and it paid off when the big man had too much momentum to be stopped from crashing over the line.

Breakwell added the conversion and within minutes, when a penalty came, he kept his composure to hammer over a long-range goal to put Cleck 41-40 up with 90 seconds on the clock.

All that remained was to secure the restart and run in three or four drives before putting the ball out and victory would be secured.

But the pack did not organise themselves in time for a short kick off and Consett tapped the ball back. Ben Thrower tried to wrestle a ball from a Consett player but ended up with his arms around the player’s head and the referee had little choice but to give Consett a penalty. The kick sailed over from 40 metres and Cleckheaton had thrown away three league points which could be decisive.

Cleckheaton need to refocus and put everything into the remaining three games, starting with Morley at home on Saturday.

Penalties, short cuts and a blame culture will not produce results but hard work and togetherness often does.

Cleckheaton are capable of this and need to put it on the line at this crucial time.