Rugby Union: Morley bag vital win over rivals Cleckheaton

Henry Shiell scores for Morley in their triumph over Cleckheaton. Picture: Dennis Elam
Henry Shiell scores for Morley in their triumph over Cleckheaton. Picture: Dennis Elam

Morley ended the year with a crucial derby victory over Cleckheaton at Scatcherd Lane on Saturday.

The home side dominated the first half and went on to win 21-7, thus gaining four vital points in their battle to avoid relegation from National Three North.

The Maroons almost scored in the second minute when Paddy Fisher-Naylor won an attacking lineout but was stopped inches short of the try line.

Morley kept up the pressure and Cleckheaton did well to keep out James Davies in the centre and Declan Brereton on the right wing.

Recycling the ball gave prop Dan Richardson a chance near the posts but he was stopped on the line and then Henry Shiell came into the line beating two defenders but was pulled down a metre short.

The home pack turned the screw and the deadlock was broken on eight minutes when a Cleckheaton five-metre scrum was pushed them back over the line with scrum-half Ben Bowen grounding the ball. Mark Chester added the conversion.

The direct running of Davies and Spears in the centre caused problems for the Moorenders, creating opportunities for Brereton and Shiell to attack.

And the lead was extended on the quarter-hour when the visitors were penalised for offside and Chester kicked the three points.

The second try of the game followed eight minutes later, a loose pass was collected by Davies and he sent Shiell charging through from half-way. Ronan Evans produced a last-ditch tackle but it wasn’t enough to stop Shiell touching-down to make it 15-0.

Cleckheaton forced their way back into the game and enjoyed better territory but Morley’s defence held firm.

Morley’s Josh Greatrix was shown the yellow card for infringing at a ruck on 37 minutes and Cleckheaton’s Paul Turner was given 10 minutes for a dangerous tackle as the half ended with the home side in control.

Cleckheaton started the second half the stronger had were rewarded with a fine try from centre Lee Queeley, after hard work from his forwards. Evans added the conversion to put them within 10 points.

However, Morley were in no mood to let the match slip away and following good raids from Dan Richardson and Xavier Valentine, they set up camp deep in Cleckheaton territory once again.

Davies was held-up short of the line and when Cleckheaton strayed offside, Chester kicked the penalty to extend the lead to 18-7.

Chester added his third penalty 10 minutes later after Harrison Baylis’ mazy run resulted in a late tackle on Shiell and a yellow card for the visitors.

Cleckheaton tried to fight back but third-bottom Morley eased to a victory that puts them within a point of Doncaster Phoenix and seven of the Moorenders in the table.