West Leeds 33 – 5 Cleckheaton
Wests win big at home
Wests were back at home looking to take points from the team two places ahead of them in the league. WL lost the early battle however as although we had a banging playlist lined up, the speaker wire was broken and although Cleck had a portable speaker, they wouldn’t let us put it on the landing so we both could hear.
It was also good to see a few old faces back at the club for the first time in a while, many people had been wondering what happened to Luke Waite and John Shed.
With preparations out of the way Wests got under way, kicking towards the unlocked gate. The first 20 minutes were a frantic and physical affair, with both teams looking to get on top. Almost from WL first attack Timmy Jackson ran the ball in, and had it dislodged in the process. Luckily the ref was unable to see this and once George realised this, several minutes later, he set off attacking with the ball.
The newsworthy point came from a home scrum, the away 9 managed to kick the ball through Stringers legs and out of Doms hands, and the scrum was awarded to Cleck. Cleckheaton set about running a fancy move down the blindside, taking the ball wide and popping back inside. Fortunately for WL, George Carpenter read this move to pick off the inside ball, before galloping to the corner from his own half, somehow outpacing the covering back three, despite looking like he was running in treacle. 5-0.
Ten minutes later and Keir Breakwell fielded a kick behind his own try line. Always looking to entertain he set off attacking then attempted on offload on his own 5m line… Surprisingly, this strategy didn’t work out and Cleck were awarded a scrum on the home 5m. The powerful number 8 picked and went blind, Stringer was quick off of the scrum in anticipation, however managed to forget there was only 5m to mark and sprinted past Seddon who scored in the corner. 5-5.
Shortly before half-time Keir Breakwell took advantage of a Cleckheaton infringement to dispatch a three pointer from 40m out to give Wests a lead heading in to half-time. 8-5.
Half Time WL 8 – 5 Cleckheaton
From kick off Stringer collected the ball, before the mercurial Dan Baxter expertly secured a penalty on the home 22. Dom Walsh went quickly and popped on to the blind jellyfish himself, Karl Wilson, who took play up to the 10m line. Cleck had again infringed so Sam used his club foot to kick the ball in behind and we came back for the penalty.
From the penalty WL kicked to touch, and an excellent rolling maul, orchestrated by Jamie Cockin, put the home side on the front foot. The ball was spun wide and Eliah Chitiyo made good ground, taking play in to the away 22. Keir Breakwell then cut through the Cleck defence, and whilst most of us were celebrating (pistols out) he managed to get tackled only a meter short, luckily Alex Hughes and Dom Walsh had followed in and an excellent pass put Alex over in the corner, and I was able to remove my pistols from their holster once again. Keir expertly slotted the touchline conversion to make it 15-5.
From kick-off (collected by George), WL set up play and were looking to exit, Sam Neave however had other ideas and tried to catch the ball with his shoulder. Luckily he managed to save it from hitting the ground before he got slotted. Karl took the ball on and popped on to Will Betts, but a loose offload saw Cleck awarded a scrum on the home 22.
Luckily the away number 8 had borrowed Bettsys hands and knocked it on when he picked up, and WL were provided the opportunity to clear, Keir putting all 4st 6 behind it to take play in to the away half. WL again disrupted the lineout (I say WL, I’m being modest, it was Dan Baxter) and the home side were back on the front foot. Eliah taking play up to the 5m line, before George Carpenter was held up over the line. From the resulting scrum George popped to Dom, who hit Mark Calderwood who finished expertly to take the score to 20-5.
Bettsy fantastically collected the kick as it was dropping over his shoulder, and then turned to attack, unfortunately when turning he did so with such pace that he managed to dislodge the ball which flew forwards in to the grateful Cleck chasers - it appears he is not used to his new slimline frame, having lost 4lbs. Cleck tried to pick and go for a try, but DTR (or James) managed to use all of 2 foot frame to turn the ball over only meters from our own try line.
Cleck now had there best spell of pressure, attacking in the home 22, but the WL defence was equal to it, Timmy Jackson and Stringer putting in some big shots, before a penalty given away by an unknown handsome home player give Cleck a penalty on the 5m line. Unfortunately in the phases before this Jacko was scythed down in all his glory, screaming in agony and demanding an ambulance before being carried off the pitch with all the hallmarks of a serious injury (Spoiler alert, diagnosed with a sprain)
The next moment of note came when Alex Hughes wriggled his way up to the away 22, and another good carry from Will Betts saw Cleck infringe at the breakdown, providing Keir Breakwell the opportunity for another 3 points. 23-5.
A few minutes later, and Tim Pickaline entered the field of play, immediately making an impact with a strong carry to take play in to the Cleck half, a few phases later and it was Duane Smith, who appears to have unlocked a new move to go with the Disco spin, by powering through the away defence, ably aided by Jamie Cockin. Duane was in behind, with only the fullback to beat, and as you would expect from a prop, he expertly drew the last defender before popping in Mark Calderwood for the West Leeds bonus point try. 28-5
Only moments later it was Duane who turned provider again – Eliah took a pass on his own 22 and broke up the centre of the pitch, out pacing the covering defence, before handing on to Duane Smith, who could have again been tempted to go for the line himself, who passed the ball on to the supporting George Carpenter who crossed in the corner to take the score to 33-5.
Cleck had one final attack but the WL defence was equal to it again and it was a valuable 5 point win for the home side, taking the unbeaten run against Cleckheaton to 4 games in a row.
Full Time West Leeds 33 – 5 Cleckheaton
The visiting scrum half had to retire early in the game with what appeared a rib injury and we wish him a speedy recovery .
A brilliant all round performance with 1-18 performing well on the day gives hope for the coming games, although we face a tough set of fixtures starting this week with YMCA away.
Points of note from the game include
Eliah turning away defenders inside out
Timmy Jackson smashing his way through defenders like Karl Wilson smashes through kit boxes
Duane evolving to Duane 2.0 and carrying hundreds of times
Ste Anderson shoring up the scrum, providing a solid attacking base
Stringbean putting in a great shift, doing Dan Baxter’s 6 shirt proud with some big carries and strong defence
George Carpenter tarnishing his almost perfect performance with some truly terrible try celebrations
Man of the match was Mark Calderwood for denying Cleck anything out wide, and taking the space whenever he chose to – it was close with George but Calders celebrations are better – and in honour of his performance a ‘Gin corner’ was established for the evening.