Old Brodleians 7 Cleckheaton 17
AS expected, Cleckheaton comfortably retained the Fred Scott Memorial Trophy on a bright, clear Boxing Day morning before the rain arrived.
Three tries and one Iain Gordon conversion in the opening 27 minutes down the Woodhead slope did the trick for the visitors who compete a division higher than their hosts.
However, Brods stuck gamely to their task and gained a converted try five minutes from the end.
Cleckheaton, keen to retain local bragging rights, fielded most of their first team while the all-amateur Brods relied on players drawn from their various sides plus a few who have moved on to other clubs including Ben Hoyle, Tom Hanson and Jack Moon.
In front of a crowd of around 400, comfortably the biggest of the year, Cleckheaton’s larger forwards bossed the set piece with the makeshift home side particularly struggling for lineout ball.
However, Brods were in no mood to lie down and forced the visitors into errors on a heavy pitch.
The opening score came on nine minutes after Cleckheaton had kicked a penalty to the corner. Brods resisted the visitors’ attempts to get over the whitewash from a lineout catch and drive but centre Matt Piper powered over 10 metres to the right of the posts, Gordon surprisingly missing the kick.
Cleckheaton scrum half Jack Bickerdyke looked far too sharp and fresh than he was entitled to be on Boxing Day, breezing in for a try from the base of a scrum 30 metres out on 20 minutes and then setting up winger Ross Hayden to plunge over wide on the right.
Gordon converted Bickerdyke’s score and then thumped the cross bar from wide out with his next attempt.
Brods comfortable held out up the break but were unable to take the initiative in a contest which became increasingly scrappy as the sides made up to four substitutions at a time.
A yellow card for Cleckheaton winger James Marshall, who played for Brods last season, was greeted with amusement by home supporters and the Hipperholme men gained some reward for their perseverance with the clock running down.
A short pass, which may have been forward, sent Ryan Harris charging under the posts and Phil Town added a quick conversion.