Crocs must hone their ruthless streak: Cooper

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Old Crossleyans director of rugby Howard Cooper will be looking for signs of a ruthless streak when the Broomfield side host Pocklington in North East One tomorrow.

Crocs let a winning position slip for a second weekend in succession at West Hartlepool last time out as a 22-13 lead - against a side unbeaten at home all season - turned into a last-gasp 25-22 reverse.

“It’s two weeks on the trot now; being in a winning position and ending up with a losing bonus point,” said Cooper.

“We feel should have taken eight points, which would have left us within a point of the promotion play off place, and instead we’ve ended up with two and we’ve slipped off the pace a little bit.

“It’s very difficult to criticise the way we’re playing - we were the better side for long spells last week against a very good Hartlepool side - but we need to be more ruthless.

“I think it’s a concentration issue more than anything. When we get teams on the backfoot we need to make sure we really finish them off.”

Tomorrow’s visitors are a place above Crocs on the league ladder ahead of what promises to be a close-fought contest ahead of the festive lay-off.

“I will be happy with a win of any kind, even if it’s by a single point,” said Cooper.

Crocs will be without scrum half Luke Travis, who is unavailable, although winger Billy Hammond and former player-coach Chris Jones should both be back in the reckoning after missing the Hartlepool fixture.

Old Rishworthians will attempt to put further distance between themselves and the Yorkshire Two dropzone when they travel to West Park Leeds tomorrow.

Last weekend’s win over West Leeds moved Damian Ball’s side on to 24 points, level pegging with their opposition, with both sides now having an eight point advantage over second-from-bottom Ripon.

But the lack of a bonus point, despite a performance Ball assessed as “really good”, meant the Copley side failed to move up a place.

“It was a good win in pretty difficult conditions,” said Ball, who reported the Leeds side had Mark Calderwood, the former Great Britain rugby league winger, on the flank.

“We were outstanding defensively and their only try came from a charged down kick.

“It was a really good performance; the weather meant that their weren’t too many opportunities to score tries but the ones that came our way, we took.

“The bonus point would have been nice because it would have moved us up a place, but at least we put a bit of a gap between ourselves and Ripon.

“I think we’re reasonably happy with where we are, especially considering that a couple of years ago the club didn’t win a game in this division. We’ve got five wins now but we’re under no illusions; if Ripon win a couple then all of a sudden it could get very tasty.

“We’ve just got to concentrate on continuing to improve and pick up points.”

Tomorrow’s assignment looks a difficult one, with West Park safely nestled in mid table, five points clear of Rishies.

“They’re an established side, so it’s a tough game,” said Ball.