Rugby Union round-up: Doncaster Phoenix ease drop fears with win at Cleckheaton

James Thompson was among the try scorers for Doncaster Phoenix at Cleckheaton. Photo: FSP Images
James Thompson was among the try scorers for Doncaster Phoenix at Cleckheaton. Photo: FSP Images

Doncaster Phoenix came from behind to win 18-10 at Cleckheaton in National Three North.

After their 20-19 defeat to Morley at Castle Park in their previous game, Phoenix looked to have another battle on their hands when Cleckheaton took a 7-0 lead with a converted try in the first two minutes of a match played in wet and muddy conditions.

Phoenix fought their way back into the game, but had only a 17th minute penalty goal by full-back Will Burden to show for their efforts in the first half.

Burden gave the visitors a one-point lead when he touched down for the first of their three tries ten minutes into the second half, although he missed the conversion and Cleckheaton then got back in front with a penalty goal to lead 10-8.

But Phoenix, who beat Cleckheaton 26-19 when they met at Castle Park back in October, were determined to complete a double and they got back on track when prop Tom Bagnall ploughed his way over in the 69th minute.

Then, as the game went into its last minute of normal time, scrum-half James Thompson raced over for the visitors’ third and final try. The conversion was missed but the eight-point margin was enough to rob Cleckheaton of a losing bonus point.

But for the ball bouncing the wrong way, Phoenix could have scored a fourth try straight from the kick-off before the referee blew for time.

With Morley’s home match against Kendal postponed because of ground conditions, and Waterloo’s game at Wirral abandoned because of a player injury, Phoenix now have three teams below them.

They face a tough home match against second placed Rossendale on Saturday.

Wheatley Hills remain without a victory after 19 games this season, falling to a 27-3 defeat at home to West Hartlepool in North One East.

Wheatley took the lead with an early Owen Gilvray penalty but conceded four first half tries, including two catch and drive efforts from inside the 22, which put the game beyond them.

West Hartlepool sit second in the table, just two points behind leaders Pocklington, but to Hills’ credit they put in a solid second half display in slippery conditions.

The only score of the second half was a penalty with the last kick of the game for West Hartlepool.

Thornensians were narrowly beaten 21-19 at home to third placed Pontefract in Yorkshire Two.

The visitors went 14-0 up with two unanswered tries, one from Glen Boyd, before Luke Marsden went over for Thorne, cutting the gap to nine points at the break.

Mark Wigham scored a second half brace, both converted by Ollie Cox, to put the hosts within touching distance, just two points behind.

Thorne might have won the game but Cox saw a difficult last minute kick go wide and they had to settle for one point.

No side has registered more losing bonus points in Yorkshire Two this season than Thornensians, earning points in seven of their 12 defeats, leaving them firmly in mid-table with seven games to play.

Wath on Dearne conceded the game’s only try but scraped a 6-5 home win over higher-placed Roundhegians at Moor Road.

Wath took the lead with the first of two penalty goals by stand-off Jack Whitlam.

Roundhegians edged in front with their try, which crucially went unconverted, and Whitlam’s second penalty completed the scoring before half time.

The sides fought out a dour second half in mudbath conditions. Roundhegians twice tried to run the ball rather than going for kickable penalty chances, and Wath went close to scoring their only try late in the game. But in the end they were thankful for the narrow win which consolidates their position just inside the top half of the table.