Old Crossleyans couldn’t finish the season on a winning note but the losing bonus point in a 21-19 loss at Dinnington secured fourth place in Yorkshire One following their promotion last season.
Playing with a strong wind at their backs, Crocs established a 19-7 interval lead although they may rue not taking other scoring opportunities in a dominant first half performance.
Dinnington controlled most of the second half but the Crocs’ defence was outstanding considering they had two men yellow carded for separate offences.
Indeed, Crocs had an opportunity to take the win with the last kick of the game but Callum Dunne’s difficult penalty kick into the stiff breeze drifted agonizingly wide.
Crocs made a number of changes to the team which had beaten Bradford Salem the previous week with James Wainwright and Joe Gallagher in the half-back roles whilst Mark Boothroyd and Cam Brannan replaced Kevin McGill and George Hammond in the pack.
Crocs took the lead after only three minutes when Joe Gallagher’s towering diagonal downfield kick was allowed to bounce, allowing Josh Hunt to pluck the ball out of the air and scamper away to the try line.
Dinnington responded well following a break from Oliver Fallon but the Crocs’ defence was a match for the strength of the home pack.
Play switched to the other end. The ball was released out wide and with a clear overlap, the ball was driven infield and eventually Crocs were penalised for not releasing.
However, on the quarter hour Billy Hammond was the recipient of an exquisite inside pass from brother Jack and outpaced the cover. Dunne’s conversion stretched the lead to 12-0.
Midway through the half Michael Leitch finished off a move which cut through Crocs’ midfield defence. Jonny West’s conversion made it 7-12.
Back came Crocs and five minutes later Hunt scored his second try with a piece of individual excellence. With little room to work with on the right touchline, he brushed past the defender on the outside before stepping inside and sprinting away to touch down. Dunne converted.
Crocs pounced on a Dinnington error in the home ‘22’ but were penalised close to the try line. Mark Boothroyd went on a barnstorming run but knocked on looking to off-load.
The closing minutes of the half were controlled by Dinnington. Crocs had a man yellow carded for pulling down a maul, having entered from the side. Dinnington declined an easy three points and the threat was nullified.
The strong downfield wind now favoured the home team and from a five metre scrum feed the ball was passed out wide, enabling Rob Leivars to touch down. West’s conversion made it 14-19.
Martin Hamer’s powerful break took play deep into the Dinnington half and when an attempted clearance kick was charged down by Boothroyd, Crocs pressed but were again penalised for not releasing.
Dinnington controlled the next phase of the game. Successive penalty awards took play deep into the Crocs’ half. They persisted with line out catch and drives but Crocs turned the ball over before having another man yellow carded. Boothroyd went on another marauding run from deep in his own half.
Entering the final 10 minutes, Dinnington finally made the pressure count when Leitch ran on to a well-timed cut out pass and touched down under the posts. The formality of the conversion gave Dinnington the lead for the first time at 21-19.
Crocs took the game to their opponents and were awarded a penalty deep into stoppage time but it wasn’t to be.