Thomas strikes late to rescue Crocs

Old Crossleyans 18 Sheffield 18

A last-gasp converted try from Leigh Thomas ensured Old Crocs gained a share of the spoils from a thrilling North One East home clash with Sheffield.

The visitors had opened up an 18-11 lead with a minute to go - and also failed woith a long-range penalty - before Thomas took a short pass from the impressive Jack Hammond and raced around the cover to touch down. He then kept his nerve brilliantly to boot the conversion right on the full-time whistle.

It was no more than Crocs deserved after both sides served up a treat of exciting end to end rugby.

Sheffield had opened up a 6-0 lead courtesy of two penalties from fly half Mark Ireland.

Crocs responded with an excellent try which was instigated by playmaker Gareth Ott. His midfield break sent No8 Ryan Hammond powering through and his neat pass was taken up to the 22 metre line by lock Kev McGill. Wing Billy Hammond then took over, cutting inside before releasing second row Tony Oxley who broke two tackles to score by the flag. Thomas was unable to add the conversion.

That left Crocs trailing 6-5 at the break after which Thomas landed two good penalties to edge Crocs in front at 11-6.

Sheffield’s sustained prressure was rewarded when a five metre scrum enabled veteran lock John Dudley to force his way over to tie things up at 11-11 just after the hour.

Thomas was then just wide with a 40 metre penalty on 70 minutes after a Sheffield prop had been yellow-carded.

With tension mounting, Crocs wasted a good chance to restore their lead when Jack Hammond failed to make use of a two on one overlap to his right. The ball was spilled and the Sheffield wing ran 80 metres unopposed for a converted score with a minute left on the clock.

Ireland then attempted an ambitious penalty from halfway which dropped short and just as time looked to be running out on Crocs, Hammond and Thomas combined to secure the dramatic draw.