Promoted Old Crossleyans have nine points out of 10 in the bag following a 20-14 win over Guisborough in their second Yorkshire One fixture yesterday.
That is a promising return for Gareth Greenwood’s side before their first away game, at Keighley next Saturday,
Aggressive defence was again the dominant feature of their performance as they ground out victory against North Yorkshire opponents who were paying a first visit to Broomfield.
Crocs had three players sin-binned by regular Broomfield visitor Andy Baker and Guisborough’s dominant lineout also helped ensure the home side spent much of the game on the back foot.
The visitors were solid up front but lacked flair in attack and their two tries came as a result of extra numbers and relentless pressure.
Crocs, in contrast, produced a sparkling score in each half after superb support play down the flanks.
Winger Gareth Sweeney played a key role in his side’s two tries, scored by promising young half-backs Joe Stott and Joe Gallagher, and it was his two penalties which separated the teams at the end.
Greenwood said: “We’re just glad to get a win. We know we will need to be a lot better as the challenges get bigger.”
Heavy rain pre-match and during the first half was a handicap for Crocs, who like to move the ball quickly and decisively.
The home side pressed early on but the visitors then dominated field position. Crocs hooker Rory Davies was carded on 13 minutes and Guisborough battered away at the try line. They got over it twice without being able to ground the ball and the siege was eventually lifted when a visiting player was tackled into touch.
Chris Vine and Stott launched a rare counter-attack but Ryan Hammond’s pass 10 metres from the try line only found a defender.
Guisborough winger Joe Whyman was short with a 40 metre penalty on 28 minutes and shortly after Crocs took the lead. Sweeney and Jack Hammond kept exchanging passes near the top touchline to work the ball past several defenders and scrum half Stott supported superbly and dived over at the side of the posts.
Sweeney converted and Crocs retained their seven-point lead up to the interval although they had a real let-off when the visitors, having turned down an easy three points, knocked on as player crossed the try line wide out.
Sweeney extended the lead to 10-0 on 50 minutes when he stroked over a long, straight penalty.
He had a similar opportunity shortly after and the ball was knocked on by Guisborough at the foot of a post. It looked a good opportunity for Crocs’ strong runners but the home side were penalised and play quickly swung to the other end where home lock Sam Ives did well to diffuse a dangerous situation.
Billy Hammond and Mark Boothroyd were sin-binned within six minutes of each other midway through the half and although there was some heroic defence, centre Jack Robinson went under the posts and Whyman’s kick made it 10-7.
Sweeney missed one chance to open up a six-point gap with a penalty from just outside the 22 but was successful with his second a couple of minutes later.
Crocs’ crucial second try came with a couple of minutes left when Whyman’s cross-kick was caught by Sweeney just inside his own half. The winger brushed off a rival near the bottom touchline and debutant Joel McFarlane provided the link before Gallagher touched down and Sweeney converted to make it 20-7.
Guisborough snatched a losing bonus point when they kicked a penalty to the corner and centre Alex Ruff went in at the side of the posts, Whyman converting.