Cleckheaton RUFC

Junior Colts through to Northern Semis

by Patrick Neal

At a very wet and muddy Moorend the Cleck Junior Colts won a thrilling National under 17 Northern Quarter Final with a spirited second half fight back.

Northwich travelled over the snowy Pennines as qualifiers from the Lancs/Cheshire League having finished second in Division 3.

Cleck were still without the injured Adam Clough and Conor Tilby-Baxter and the unavailable Cameron Brannan but Steve Hawkesworth, Brad Marsden, Rob Lowe and Josh Taylor filled the gaps.

Cleck got an early wake up call when Northwich’s speedy left wing scored after five minutes.

Jack Seddon soon put Cleck back on terms with a characteristic quick tap penalty. Danny Clark added the conversion.

Northwich were looking dangerous in the backs and poor tackling let them score two tries to create a 17-7 lead mid way through the half.

Josh White hit back when he picked up from the base of a scrum to score, Danny Clark again converted.

Northwich’s speedy right winger then scored a solo try from his own 22. Cleck appeared to have him tackled on half way but he spun free to sprint in by the left hand corner.

Just before half time a series of forward drives led to George Speight just being forced into touch. At half time Cleck were down by 8 points 14-22.

The second half witnessed a real turn around. With the pitch getting ever heavier and muddy the Cleck pack took complete control dominating in the loose and set scrum.

Jimmy Sheridan was driven over with Danny Clark again converting to get Cleck back to within two points and then Jack Seddon scored his second with the forwards putting together a series of drives to give Cleck a 26-22 lead.

Northwich were now seeing little ball and what little they did get was being spilled by their backs in the poor conditions.

Josh White put Cleck well clear with a pick up and drive before Jack Seddon completed his third hat-trick of the season.

In the dying minutes Ryan Mortimer drove for the line and beautifully off loaded to Rob Lowe to score. Danny Clark converted to give Cleck a 45-22 victory.

A superb second half performance by the whole team but particularly the pack in which captain Josh White led from the front and took the game to Northwich.

The Cherry & Whites now entertain either Wilmslow or Keswick (who play this Sunday 11th) on Sunday 18th March in the Semi-Final. Our friends at Selby beat Darlington Mowden Park 13-7 and play Bolton away so there is a chance of an all Yorkshire Final.

Team – Green, Bairstow, Robinson, Wright, Speight, Clark, Hirst, Mortimer, Brown, Sheridan, Seddon, Hawkesworth, Neal, Marsden, White Replacements – Lowe, Taylor.

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