Cleckheaton 6 - 5 Skipton
On a pleasant but cool early Spring morning, Cleckheaton had the luxury of been able to select from a full squad of eleven players.
Cleckheaton soon found their stride as a strong tackle by Alex Summerscales forced Skipton to spill the ball and George Gillgrass was on hand to pick up the pieces and score the first of his four tries in the game. As has happened far too often this season, the home team allowed Skipton to score from the re-start however it wasn't long before a fine burst through the lineout by the irrepressible Danny Sharp set up Summerscales who scored from 20 yards out.
As both teams kept exchanging scores "basketball" style, strong forward running by the ever-eager Sam Eastwood and the bullish Marcus Abbot was putting the visitors on the back foot. Jack Wilson was proving to be a nuisance in and around the ruck and good clearing out by William Wagstaff set up Ayman Khan with one of his customary forays up the touchline. From the base of the scrum, Sharp ghosted through the Skipton defence in a style which became increasingly prevalent as the morning progressed. Just before half time, the dogged Morgan Etherington made a great tackle on his own try line and prevented a certain score.
With the half time score 5 - 4 to Cleckheaton, the second half was a much tighter affair as both teams cut down on the number of "knock-ons" and errors. Another great run by Sharp was stopped in midfield however Wagstaff was first on-hand to clear-out. The fastly-improving Frankie
Lawson made a couple of strong runs through the Skipton defence. Just as the game looked like it was heading for a draw, a powerful drive by Sam Eastwood put Cleckheaton in good field position and a great maul led by Eugene Rounding, a player who always punches above his weight, set up Gillgrass to score the winning try with the final action of the game.
Cleckheaton 8 - 4 Bradford Salem
In Match 2, the Moorenders continued to exert great pressure on their new opposition as Sharp and Gillgrass scored 4 tries a piece. This was by no means just a two man effort though, as despite early Salem resisitance, a fine team performance by Cleckheaton forced the visitors into an inevitable submission.
The forward pack of Abbot, Khan and Eastwood were creating lots of space for Gillgrass and and the free-running Sharp who was playing the game as if he'd just eaten 4 Shredded Wheat. A great run and pass by Lawson was supported by the combative Etherington who was stopped short with just yards to go. Rounding had a magical five minutes as he made a great tackle on the Salem winger and shortly afterwards made a fine relieving run from his own try line.
Playing as full back, Summerscales also made a couple of great defensive plays and Wilson and Wagstaff, despite sounding like a firm of Solicitors, were tigerish in and around the ruck. Try of the game/comedy moment was supplied by Sharp as he somehow managed to catch the ball behind his back and then, in a move more reminiscent of the Harlem Globetrotters, managed to transfer the ball into a more orthodox carrying position just in time to dive over the line and score. With award going to
Danny Sharp - Player of the Game
Alex Summerscales -Top Tackler
Eugene Rounding - Top Training
William Wagstaff - Clear Out King