Thursday 22 August - Foresters v North Ribblesdale (H) KO 7.00pm ----    Saturday 24 August - 1st XV v Blaydon (A) KO 2.30pm ----

Cleckheaton 24 Wharfedale 40

Cleckheaton 24 Wharfedale 40

A good crowd turned out for the Yorkshire Cup Semi Final last Wednesday night to see Cleckheaton do battle against National League 1 visitors Wharfedale.  If the first half was dour then the second half was worth the entrance fee. The visitors ran in two tries (one from Cameron Hudson and Max Bell the other) which James Druce converted. Cleckheaton kept in touch from the boot of Ross Hayden who landed three penalties.

It was Ross Hayden who opened the scoring landing a penalty from 40 metres out. Cleckheaton spilled the restart and Huw Morgan soon had their defence backpedalling and then left Cameron Hudson to finish off.

Cleckheaton showed their defensive qualities next as Wharfedale had a long period of possession. Dale went through 12 phases running left and right but could not break through. They also, using their main weapon, their bulky forwards, pressed into Dale territory and forced mistakes. Eventually Dale committed enough penalties for a Yellow Card to be awarded to Simon Oxley. Hayden converted his second penalty.

A minute later the home side kicked into Dale’s 22. Ignoring advice from the sideline Tom Davidson ran out of defence to half way. Matt Beesley was in support and instead of burrowing ahead he sent a superb pass out to Cameron Hudson. Hudson chipped ahead and was lucky enough to catch the ball as it rebounded off a defender.  This stroke of luck put him behind the defence, Druce was in support and Max Bell was on hand to finish off a fine move.

Hayden added his third penalty before to bring the score to 9 – 14 at half time.

Cleckheaton  opened the second half with a try from, ex Wharfedale veteran, Richard Brown which went unconverted and a drop goal from Matt Piper took them into the lead 17-14.

Dale stepped up their game and regained the lead with a bullocking charge from Adam Howard. Druce again adding the extras. Tom Davidson and Ian Larkin added two more converted tries for Dale and the game was over with the score Cleckheaton 17 Wharfedale 35.

Davidson’s try came from a break by James Doherty, Larkin added his 2 minutes later being driven over after a catch and drive.

This did not stop Cleckheaton who wanted a score more worthy of their efforts and they got their reward when Richard Piper crashed over early in injury time. Hayden was again successful from the tee. There was still time for the Wharfedale backs to show their paces and for James Druce to take an inside ball from Hudson and dazzle the defence with footwork and speed to score in the corner. He could not however convert his own try.

A fine match, and the Cleckheaton players earned praise from both sets of supporters.

Wharfedale: Tom Davidson; Simon Crabtree, Cameron Hudson, Huw Morgan, James Druce; Andrew Hodgson, Max Bell; Chris Steel (capt), Ian Larkin, Joe Altham, Alex Powell, Jim Mason, Simon Oxley, Tom Burridge, Tom Whyte.

Replacements were all used – Matt Beesley, Jake Parkinson, George Altham, Jake Starkey, Simon Willet, Tom Baines, James Doherty.

A selection of photographs appears under the Gallery tab.