Under-strength Crocs secure historic success

Richard Wheale.
Richard Wheale.

Middlesbrough 11 Old Crossleyans 18

Old Crossleyans. missing 11 first team regulars, did what no team from Broomfield has done in living memory by forging a historic win at Middlesbrough in North One East.

The victory was also their second in a row following five defeats, and came against a side battling to pull away from the lower reaches.

Crocs had been decimated by injuries and unavailablilites but produced a performance of character in difficult conditions.

Crocs were soon into the game and 18 year old full back Josh Dean, in his first start, landed a penalty to put his side 3-0 up.

Middlesbrough almost replied immediately only for their winger to fail to touch down, knocking on in the process. Crocs rode their luck and pulled further ahead after 15 minutes.

Crocs won a penalty on the home 22 and although the initial lineout was lost, the visitors reclaimed the loose ball and a 20 metre drive to the line saw scrum half Will Travis touch down for an 8-0 advantage.

Middlesbrough’s restart was taken by Jack Hammond, playing at 10 in place of Gareth Ott, and he kicked long to the home 22. The catcher slipped and was then penalised for holding on, Dean adding the penalty for 11-0 after 19 minutes.

Crocs continued to look the more likely to add to their tally which they did in the 29th minute when Gareth Sweeney took the ball on before finding Richard Wheale as an unlikely outlet and the hooker rumbled over, Sweeney taking over the kicking duties to make it 18-0.

Middlesbrough’s restart won them a penalty which Simon Moore converted and he repeated the dose with a fine kick from wide out to close the gap to 18-6 at the interval.

The wet conditions made handling and running difficult and it was Middlesbrough who adapted the better, although they were unable to land a penalty from close in.

Crocs suffered a blow when flanker Ollie Coyne, in only his second start, was yellow carded for persistent infringements, but again Moore missed the straightforward penalty.

A long period of stalemate ensued with Middlesbrough again guilty of not making the most of their opportunities.

Crocs exchaged their flankers with Matthew Schofield and George Hammond, the fifth Hammond brother to turn out for the club, entering the fray.

The heavy penalty count was making life difficult for Crocs, while Dean was also yellow-carded as the hosts sensed a way back in.

However, they were denied by a stout defensive effort from the visitors while poor handling again let them down under the posts right on the final whistle.