Sandal earn bragging rights in exciting Yorkshire derby against Cleckheaton
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Earlier this season Sandal had drawn 20-20 with their near neighbours when Cleckheaton converted a stoppage time penalty, writes Howard Newton.
The two clubs have contested fixtures for over 90 years which have always been played in a competitive spirit. So with Cleckheaton being only one place below their hosts another hard game was anticipated.
In the event a sizeable crowd was not disappointed and although Sandal were able to register a 41-31 victory it was not without several tense moments.
Despite playing against the slope in the first half it only took four minutes for Sandal to put points on the board when Jake Adams converted a penalty.
Cleckheaton replied with a penalty soon followed by a converted try to lead 10-3.
But from the resumption they infringed and Sandal went for an attacking line-out from which Alex Edler found a gap to touch down. With Jake Adams adding the extras it was level again.
Four minutes later Sandal were in again, Joey Allott diving over the line following another line-out and Adams converted.
Another try swiftly followed as Austen Thompson made a telling break, Scott McGregor and Jake Adams took the move on and Allott coasted in for his second.
Adams converted then added a penalty to make it 27-10 after 28 minutes.
Undaunted, Cleckheaton hit back to force some pressure that brought them their second converted try.
But with half-time a yellow card sent them down to 14 men and Sandal took advantage with Thompson forcing his way over for a bonus point try which Jake Adams converted to take the score to 34-17 at the interval.
Cleckheaton were first to score in the second half after a telling attack from their own half then went over for anther converted try that reduced the lead to three points.
However, nerves were eased when Scott McGregor went over for a match clinching try and Adams converted inthe 58th minute.
The game was then played out with no further score from either side but still had its moments with a red card being issued to Cleckheaton for stamping on a player and Sandal also going down to 14 men for 10 minutes after receiving a yellow for obstruction.
But in the end after several late heart stopping moments Sandal defended their lead well to register their 11th victory of the season.
The result was hard earned, but fortunately made easier with Jake Adams never failing with his seven attempts at goal to score 16 of his side’s points.
Sandal now play their last away league game of the season this Saturday when away to Doncaster Phoenix.