Crocs maintain home run

Rugby union - Old Crocs v Northern. Will Travis for Crocs.
Rugby union - Old Crocs v Northern. Will Travis for Crocs.

Old Crossleyans made it four home wins on the bounce with a hard-fought 17-11 win over Northern yesterday.

A decision to switch the match from waterlogged Broomfield to little-used Kensington nearby paid dividends when two Chris Vine penalties and a Neil Richardson try helped Crocs overturn an 11-6 interval deficit.

However, Neil Spence’s side remain second from bottom of North One East because Bradford and Bingley and Driffield also won.

Crocs, who were following up home successes against Rochdale, rock-bottom Horden and Bradford and Bingley, were without hooker Richard Wheale.

‘Bodge’ Sembi moved forward to hooker, versatile Chris Seymour went into the second row and Richardson returned at centre.

Vine gave Crocs an early boost with a penalty from close-in. He and fullback Ben Greaves probed away at the Northern defence and Vine made it 6-0 with a second penalty after 10 minutes.

A drop goal from No 10 Donal Collins pulled back three points on 17 minutes and the visitors from Newcastle maintained the pressure.

A penalty kick to the corner produced a lineout catch and drive and hooker Sam Wilson gave Northern an 8-6 lead on 25 minutes with an unconverted score.

Manny Riaz made a great stop but had to go off with an arm injury and Collins, who was running the show for Northern, stretched the lead to 11-6 with four minutes of the half remaining.

Crocs were relieved to hear the half-time whistle and sent on George Hammond and Jon McCormack for the second period.

A 40 metre break from No 8 Luke Gardiner helped Crocs turn defence into attack. Scrum half Will Travis was making some good breaks and Gardiner made ground from a scrum to earn a penalty, which Vine kicked on 50 minutes.

Crocs returned to the attack and took a 12-11 lead on 65 minutes through Vine’s fourth penalty, Northern having a men sent to the sin-bin for the offence.

The home side, sensing a chance, moved the ball across the field to stretch the visiting 14. Vine, Gareth Ott and Gardiner were prominent and eventually Richardson was pushed over the try line by the forwards.

Vine was unable to convert but Crocs had a six-point lead with eight minutes left.

Winger Adam Sutcliffe made a good run on the flank and when Northern were ruled to have pulled down a scrum on their 22, they had a second player yellow carded.

Crocs were unable to capitalise when the scrum was reset three times and the home side had to defend for the last few minutes after Vine was sin-binned.

Crocs are without a game next week but then face a crunch test at Driffield.