Morley miss out in first local derby of season

Karl Bradshaw on his way to a try for Morley at Cleckheaton. Picture: Dennis Elam
Karl Bradshaw on his way to a try for Morley at Cleckheaton. Picture: Dennis Elam

Morley RFC suffered defeat in their first local derby of the season in National Three North when they went down 44-24 away to Cleckheaton.

The Maroons were made to pay for two periods when they went down to 14 men and conceded four tries, although they did keep going and scored four tries themselves to earn a bonus point that could prove vital at the end of the season.

Morley started well in glorious sunshine and spent most of the first quarter in the Cleckheaton half. But they were careless with the ball and lost possession in contact when in good attacking positions. They were soon made to pay the penalty when winger Mike Hayward scored the first of his hat-trick of tries on 13 minutes, finishing off a good move by the back row. Ronan Evans missed the conversion, but added a penalty to make it 8-0.

Morley hit back as Luke Watts stole the ball and raced up field. A well timed pass to Richard Knowles saw the centre advance before electing for a kick and chase, which he won to give the visitors their first points.

But the Maroons suffered a blow just before half-time when Ollie Flegg was sin-binned for hands in the ruck and the hosts quickly took advantage of their extra man to score two tries through scrum-half Chivers and Hayward.

Morley lost another man for 10 minutes in the second half with prop Greg Jones sin-binned for a scrum offence and they let in two tries again, number eight Richard Piper and back-row Tom Austin going over. With Evans converted one of the tries Cleckheaton led 32 -5 after 62 minutes.

The introduction of Harrison Baylis added some spark to the Morley back line, however, and he was on hand to finish off good work by the forwards. Mark Chester converted.

Cleckheaton scored again as a fortunate bounce gave Hayward his hat-trick, but the Maroons continued to play with spirit and good work by James Davies led to livewire Baylis scoring a try that was converted by Chester.

Again Cleckheaton hit back with Austin grabbing his second before Morley scored the final try through Karl Bradshaw after Will Smyth, Ben Bell, Baylis, Clough and Tom Richmond had made the initial inroads and quick recycling from Chester and Kenny Hirst-Sewell got the ball to the full-back.