Old Crossleyans put the disappointment of last week’s defeat at Keighley behind them with an ultimately emphatic 42-17 Yorkshire One win against Goole.
But not many in the crowd would have predicted the final score at half time, with Crocs trailing 10-6 and struggling to make their possession and territorial advantage count.
Too often they turned over the ball and weren’t unable to exert any sustained pressure on the visitors’ resolute defence, with the second half turnaround as surprising as it was welcome.
Crocs were dominant in the set piece throughout the match but now they showed much more composure and patience in the build up.
They took their chances with a ruthless efficiency which had been lacking in the opening half, scoring five tries, including a hat trick for Josh Hunt.
Crocs made several changes to the starting line up from last week. Ed Cockroft returned at scrum half and with Joe Gallagher being unavailable, Joel McFarlane started at fly half.
Roland Marki and Jack Pilcher resumed duties in the front row with Cam Brannan moving into the second row where he was joined by Luke Sturman. Nick Faulkner made his debut for the club in the back row and fellow debutant Chris Cullimore was on the bench with the returning Joslin Landu.
Crocs opened the scoring after only two minutes when Goole were penalised for crossing and Ed Cockroft landed the penalty from just inside the half way line.
The Crocs’ lead was extended on the quarter hour when Cockroft was successful with another penalty to make it 6-0.
Goole were penalised for a high tackle just before the half hour but the kick drifted wide and the sustained pressure was not being converted into points.
Almost inevitably, Goole responded strongly and took the lead five minutes before the break, Connor Walker touching down by the post. Rhys Moore’s conversion gave them a 7-6 lead.
Shortly after Crocs turned the ball over and on the stroke of half time, a further penalty to Goole in front of the posts from Rhys Moore established a 10-6 lead. The opening exchanges of the second half did little to raise the spirits, but Joel McFarlane drifted through the Goole midfield and deep into their ‘22’ to set up an attacking platform.
The visitors were subsequently penalised and Ed Cockroft landed the kick to narrow the deficit to 10-9.
Approaching midway through the half Crocs finally found their form and ran in three tries in a 10 minute blitz.
The first came when another towering kick from Joel McFarlane caused havoc in the Goole defence. They were unable to gather the ball in, allowing it to bounce, and Josh Hunt pounced on the loose ball and scored wide out on the left wing. Ed Cockroft’s excellent touchline conversion gave Crocs a 16-10 lead.
McFarlanethen put up the high kick and Goole could only find Callum Dunne on the halfway line rather than touch. The full back ran the ball infield, releasing Hunt who promptly scythed his way through the Goole cover to score his second try of the match and Crocs led 21-10.
Several pick and go drives eventually saw Sturman burrow his way over the line to reward his Man of the Match performance. Ed Cockroft’s conversion stretched the lead out to 28-10.
Crocs had a man yellow carded for a high tackle and Goole scored from the tap penalty inside the Crocs’ ‘22’, Moore touching down. He also added the conversion to narrow the deficit to 28-17.
However, the numerical disadvantage was short lived as Goole also had a player yellow carded for a late tackle. Any concerns the home support may have harboured were quashed when the bonus point was achieved five minutes from the end. Joslin Landu was unstoppable as he smashed his way through the visitors’ defence from 20 metres out and the conversion made it 35-17.
The final score came deep into stoppage time when Josh Hunt completed his hat trick, Cockroft converting.