Wheatley Hills 29 Old Crossleyans 32
Old Crossleyans ended a miserable North One East campaign on a high as they recorded their first away league win of the season at the 13th time of asking.
Once again they had key personnel missing but showed tremendous fight and character to secure a four try bonus point success against a team they traditionally struggle against.
The visitors made a slow start on the hard ground and Wheatley Hills edged ahead after 15 minutes courtesy of a penalty from full back Johnny Woodcock.
Crocs responded in the best way possible with full-back Ben Greaves heavily involved in the move which brought their first score.
Greaves allowed a long clearance to bounce before outfoxing the onrushing opponents and bringing Chris Seymour into play
His weighted inside pass found Greaves again who in turn picked out lock Kev McGill who raced through and stretched over the line in the tackle. Scrum half Chris Vine converted for a 3-7 lead.
A mini-fracas saw captain Jack Hammond yellow carded and minutes later Crocs won a penalty 40 metres out, but Vine’s attempt fell short.
Crocs weren’t to be denied and right wing Luke Saltonstall kicked ahead and after Hills dropped the ball, Richard Wheale pounced to twist over, Vine pulling his conversion wide.
Greaves was then hurt in contact which meant Crocs were down to 13 men. Hills looked to capitalise and after one chance had gone begging through a knock on, the visitors coughed up possession and gave away a penalty. The hosts opted for the scrum, which they wheeled, and No8 Tom White plunged over, Woodock converting for 10-12.
Jack Hammond returned and when the backs easily punctured the the Hills defence, McGill slipped in Saltonstall who crossed in the corner to open up a 10-17 half-time advantage.
The lead was cut early in the second period when No 10 Mark Sanderson raced through. Both sides then squandered chances to score before Crocs stretched their lead again when punishing breaks from Luke Gardiner, Andy Day and Jonathan McCormack led to Seymour almost finding a way through before Gardiner took over again to barge over for 15-22.
Hills were level three minutes later when, from a lineout 40 metres out, they ran the ball wide and White scored in the corner, Woodcock adding the extras.
Crocs remained determined and Vine made it 22-25 with a penalty after which further strong support play involving Adam Sutcliffe, Shane Davis and James Wainwright, saw Gareth Ott play in Sutcliffe, Vine’s conversion making it 22-32 with 80 minutes on the clock.
From Hill’s restart Crocs kicked straight to the home right winger who spread the ball left with White breaking tackles and crossing for his third try, Woodcock adding the final conversion right on the whistle.