Old Crossleyans threatened an upset when they led 15-14 after 34 minutes of Saturday’s North One East finale at Huddersfield YMCA but their hosts, the league runners-up, came through strongly to win 40-15.
The Broomfield men, who have finished seventh after a second half of the season plagued by injuries and unavailability, were without front five players Mark Palmer, Richard Wheale, Boj Sembi and Tony Oxley while the influential Chris Jones was injured during the first half.
There were good performances from scrum half Will Travis, fullback Chris Vine and brothers George, Jack and Billy Hammond.
YM made the early running and although a great kick from Travis helped keep them out initially, Mark Whitehead intercepted and fellow back rower Sam Hodge went under the posts, Gavin Stead converting.
Vine pulled back three points with a straight penalty from the 22 and Crocs were 10-7 up on 17 minutes when Jack Hammond probed and Travis’s inside pass sent Kev McGill striding under the posts. Vine converted.
Whitehead regained the lead for YM, after everyone had stopped for a forward pass which the referee hadn’t spotted, and Stead’s kick made it 14-10 on 23 minutes.
Jack Hammond cut through and brother Billy put in a long, bouncing kick. The ball was returned but Crocs ran it back and earned a penalty from which Travis made ground with the support of the pack. The scrum half then burrowed under the forwards Danny Care-style to score and although Vine missed the goal, Crocs were ahead.
The lead didn’t last long, YM scoring a long-range unconverted try through centre Ed Barker to lead 19-15 at the break.
Player-coach Ian Spence came on as Jones was unable to continue after the break. Chris Seymour, Spence and Neil Richardson helped make ground but lineout ball was lost.
McGill was yellow carded for pulling a maul down as YM pressed and that proved crucial, the home side scoring two tries in three minutes to pull clear.
Barker got his second from a chip through on 56 minutes and when the ball came out of a Crocs scrum, centre Adam Ryder raced 80 yards to score under the posts. Stead converted both tries for a 33-15 lead.
YM added a final try six minutes into added time through Stead following a maul. The conversion completed the scoring.