Old Crossleyans’ difficult start to life in Yorkshire One continued with a 59-20 defeat away to well-drilled and efficient Bradford Salem yesterday.
A Salem side buoyed by a good win at York the previous Saturday took advantage of fragile defence.
Four tries from centre Chris Clough helped them into a 59-6 lead but the Broomfield men didn’t let their heads drop and were rewarded with two converted tries in the closing minutes.
Clough got his first following a quick tap penalty on five minutes.
Jack Hammond, making his 200th first team appearance for Crocs, and Gareth Sweeney made eye-catching breaks into Salem territory but both sides were turning over possession.
Fullback Danny Belcher joined the line and stepped inside the defence to score under the posts, converting himself to make it 12-0 after 19 minutes.
Hammond and James Wainwright combined well and Crocs won a series of penalties in home territory, Ryan Sweeney pulling back three points on 26 minutes.
The visitors produced some good tackling on their line but conceded two tries at the end of the half.
Clough got his second to make it 17-3 and although Ryan Sweeney landed an excellent 40 yard penalty, Salem regained possession from the restart and Belcher touched down and converted for a 24-6 lead.
Luke Saltonstall showed enterprise with a run down the right but the defence forced him to put a foot in touch.
Clough scored his third after Salem had recycled possession quickly, Belcher converting for 31-6.
Back rower Dan Snowden peeled off a rolling maul for the next try on 52 minutes and Belcher converted that try and Clough’s fourth on the hour.
Further converted tries from replacement Nick Fontaine and No 8 Chad Bain moved Salem out of sight but Crocs showed spirit and determination.
Hammond made a break and found Chris Seymour on his shoulder to score.
Wainwright then cut inside the defence for another try under the posts, Ryan Sweeney adding both conversions.