Ryan’s red card is costly in points fest

Old Crossleyans 34

Cleckheaton 41

THE fireworks went off early at Broomfield on Saturday with a mix of the good, the bad and the ugly.

The good was terrific non-stop entertainment with nine tries; the bad was Crocs’ error strewn display; and the ugly was a Crocs red card, plus a yellow, resulting in a 14 man team for 30 minutes which made all the difference.

Crossleyans gifted their neighbours 14 points in the first six minutes through simple errors. Ten minutes later they had levelled through good rugby and were only three points adrift at half time. But numbers counted in the end.

Crocs were short of key men Chris Wood and Rory Davis in the pack yet the set piece worked well. Boj Sembi’s return enabled the line-out to function better and Danny Booth added fire to the attack.

On a dry, windless afternoon, Cleck kicked off long and centre Matt Piper charged down Crocs’ clearance to score, fly half Iain Gordon converting.

Crocs recovered their composure, No 10 Gareth Ott stepping and breaking to release fast back moves to their opponents’ 22. Centre Chris Jones charged to the posts but opted to pass along the line and alert wing Ross Hayden intercepted and raced the length of Broomfield. Gordon’s touchline kick made it 0-14 after six minutes.

Ott’s sparkling break gave Jones another strong tilt and the player-coach broke tackles and took a defender over the line with him, scrum half Ed Cockroft adding a fine conversion.

Play was fast and furious. Gordon’s penalty went wide and Crocs attacked from a line out on half way through Jones and No 8 Ryan Hammond, whose one handed pass set winger and captain James Wainwright in for a great score. Cockroft’s touchline goal made it 14-14 after 16 minutes.

Cleckheaton broke down the right wing and across into midfield where a melee erupted and centre Jack Hammond received a yellow card. Gordon’s penalty hit a post.

Cockroft missed a penalty from wide out but gave his side the lead from the other side of the field on 26 minutes.

This was short lived, however. Ott attempted a quick throw-in to himself on his own 22 but knocked-on and Cleckheaton eventually cashed in with Mark Piper’s second try, which was unconverted.

Cockroft regaining the lead at 20-19 with a penalty under Cleck’s posts but Crocs fumbled the restart and an inside pass enabled No 8 Richard Piper to take tacklers with him over near the posts.Gordon’s kick made it 20-26 after 37 minutes.

Crocs’ restart was retrieved and rejuvenated wing Wainwright broke through but the Crocs attack panicked and mishandled only for Cleck to concede a wide out penalty which Cockroft missed. He made amends one minute before the break for a 23-26 scoreline and Jones might have scored but took his eye off the ball and knocked on.

A lineout from a Cleck penalty into the corner erupted into a frantic affray with both packs involved but only Crocs had casualties, Ryan Hammond with a red card and injured hand, and Jack Hammond with a cut head, to be replaced by Chris Seymour.

Cleck earned a close in line-out catch and drive and Matt Piper was driven over near the posts, Gordon converting to make it 23-33.

Crossleyans creditably upped their game. Winger Joe Baker was bundled into touch in the corner and when Wainwright ran back an attempt at touch, Cleckheaton had a man yellow carded, but Cockroft missed his 40 metre penalty.

Jones dropping an inside pass near the try line, but a Cockroft penalty for offside made it 26-33 at three quarter time.

Cockroft and Gordon traded penalties for 29-36 and Cleckheaton got the vital next score, catching and driving for Richard Piper to score his third near the posts, Crocs’ charge causing Gordon to miss the goal.

Crocs snatched a bonus point when Baker, Cockroft and Seymour combined and lock Simon Normanton crossed for an unconverted try.