The final scoreline flattered Middlesbrough as Crocs raised their performances from the previous games this season.
Unfortunately, the hosts handed Middlesbrough 19 points, through two interceptions and a penalty try, to give the outcome a lopsided look
The first quarter showed why Middlesbrough are third from the top of North One East and Crocs third from bottom, scrum half Peter Wright scoring his team’s first points with a try and conversion.
This jolted Crocs into action and hooker Boj Sembi’s throw found second row James Kavanagh. Scrum half Ed Cockcroft sent a fast ball to No 12 Chris Jones at fly half and he shook off defenders on his charge to the line before off loading to co-centre Jack Hammond who touched down under the posts. That left an easy conversion by wing Leigh Thomas to level.
Another good take at the back of the lineout by Booth enabled the ball to drop into prop Andy Day’s hands., Gareth Ott took his pass to step inside defenders while Jones supported on the charge and won a penalty for the visitors not rolling away, Thomas duly obliging for a 10-7 lead.
A Jones pass to Ott then dropped short and was quickly snaffled by Middlesbrough’s wing Josh Evans who raced awa,y beating the chasing Ott and Jones to score out wide to lead 12-10 at the break
Crocs attacked from the restart but it was Middlesbrough who scored next when their five metre scrum drove forward, a Crocs boot sending the ball out the back, for which the referee awarded a penalty try under the posts.
Danny Booth was yellow carded for a high tackle and Middlesbrough’s penalty and lineout enabled the visitors, with an extra man, to maul to Crocs line, captain/hooker Richard Horton scoring in the corner.
Thomas flapped a penalty wide before full back Seymour’s grubber kick just evaded Thomas’s grasp.
Crocs lineout ball resulted in Jones charging to five metres out, only for his pass to be deliberately knocked down with the line open.
However, no penalty was given, just a penalty which Cockroft tapped for a forward charge but the ball went to ground and the defence cleared to touch.
Crocs’ quick lineout was halted by the referee, much to the chagrin of player/coach Jones, acting captain Seymour intervening.
A fracas resulted in Middlesbrough lock Bradford being sin-binned and Cockroft’s penalty from the home 22 line took play to the visitors 10 metre line, the throw-in giving Ott another chance to step round defenders but he was buried.
The lineout and maul descended into another melee, with another yellow card for the visitors and a red for Crocs’ No 7.
Middlesbrough’s penalty award gave a lineout 10 metres from Crocs line, from which Crocs won a scrum from a Middlesbrough infringement. In desperation, Crocs flung the ball long and wide but quick witted wing Josh Evans seized the opportunity to score his second interception to inflate the winning margin.