West Hartlepool 17 Old Crossleyans 10
Old Crossleyans were left feeling aggrieved at a number of refereeing decisions after slipping to a disappointing North One East defeat.
Crocs were the better side for the majority of a contest that was hampered by a strong wind which blew straight down the exposed pitch.
However, the visitors were left scratching their heads after having two tries ruled out by the official who also allowed the home side their second score despite his assistant flagging for a double movement.
To make matters worse the three teams immediately above Crocs in the table all won against the odds to increase the pressure on the Broomfield side.
Crocs thought they had taken the lead after five minutes when a big charge saw them go over in the corner only for the referee to rule the try out.
The visitors did edge ahead 10 minutes later when centre Chris Seymour broke from a scrum in his own 22. He slipped the ball to supporting flanker Billy Hammond who charged over taking would-be tacklers with him. Chris Vine’s conversion attempt was blown wide by the wind.
That advantage was doubled after 25 minutes with more strong work. Winger James Wainwright made good yards before bringing lock Boj Sembi into play.
He drove to the home 22 and as the pack joined in Crocs piled over with Wainwright credited with the score.
Vine was again off-target but Crocs led 0-10.
The lead was cut three minutes later when, from a scrum, the ball was spread wide and back for flanker Chris Atkins to cross under the posts, the conversion attempt hitting the crossbar.
The hosts then took the lead for the first time after they had seen a penalty attempt blown off-course by the wind.
A scrum on the Crocs’ 22 was spread wide and full back Luke Mallinson took the ball to the line, the referee awarding the try despite his touch judge indicating the ball had been dropped over the line.
The conversion went in off the posts as Wests opened up a 12-10 lead.
Crocs suffered again before the break when Vine won the ball and made yards towards the home line. He was almost over thanks to some sterling work by the pack, but the referee stopped play and penalised Crocs for coming in at the side of a ruck.
It was a similar story early in the second half when Raman Sembi cut the defence to ribbons before playing Vine in but again the official blew up, this time for a forward pass.
Wests clinched the win when the ball was spread wide from a lineout. The hosts won a scrum in front of the posts and Mallinson crossed in the corner for 17-10.
Lock James Cooper was replaced by Jon McCormack before Boj Sembi was yellow-carded.
Despite being a man down Crocs looked the better side but twice lost the ball in contact in good positions as they frantically looked for a way back into the game.