Old Crossleyans 18 Sheffield 17
Old Crossleyans turned the North One East table on its head after securing a narrow yet vital victory over leaders Sheffield.
Captain Jack Hammond led by example as he orchestrated a fine all-round team display which saw the hosts fully deserve their success.
Other results saw Crocs close the gap on the teams above them, but with only five games left they still have a mountain to climb if they are to stay in the division next season.
Crocs got off to a solid start and posted their first points after just seven minutes. Flanker Chris Seymour made a break and the ball was passed along the line to wing James Wainwright who was stopped short.
The ball was recycled back across the pitch and veteran hooker Richard Wheale charged over with Chris Vine’s conversion falling wide.
Crocs continued to press and after Jack Hammond had been unable to hold onto the ball five metres out, he embarked on a 30 metre break but wing Adam Sutcliffe was unable to pouch his pass with the line open.
Sheffield replied with a penalty from fly half Jimmy Pearson after which Wheale was forced off with a recurrance of an ankle injury and replaced by Jonathan McCormack.
Again Sutcliffe was unable to claim a Jack Hammond pass while Ben Greaves also tried to put the wide man in but the chace went begging as Crocs held a 5-3 lead at the break.
The home side continued to make the running after the interval and after a strong passage of play close to the Sheffield posts, Crocs won a penalty which Vine converted for 8-3.
From the restart Crocs returned upfield and found touch on Sheffield’s 22. The lineout was mauled to the posts, forcing the big Sheffield forwards back over their own line and Raman Sembi was credited with the try. Vine converted to stretch the lead to 15-3.
Jack Hammond then hacked forward but was beaten to the ball before Sheffield upped their game.
Heavy pressure led to successive penalties with Ott penalised for obstruction and shown a yellow card.
The visitors capitalised as they criss-crossed in front of the home posts and prop Tom Womack scored from close in with Pearson converting for 15-10.
Crocs returned to the attack and after Jack Hammond had been hauled down 10 metres out, the maul rumbled back and forth, winning a penalty for the 14-man hosts which Vine landed for 18-10.
Sheffield won the ball from the restart and successive close in charges took them towards the home posts. The ball was spread wide and full back Joe Cribley, on the overlap, went over with Pearson adding an excellent conversion.
Crocs could have widened the margin further but Vine was off-target with a last-ditch penalty from 22 metres.
Shane Davis crossed for three tries as Old Crossleyans 2nds beat Leeds Corinthians 28-5.
Jonathan Woodhouse also touched down with Tony Mucci converting three and Steve Shaw one.