Beverley v Old Crossleyans: Visitors second best
Old Crossleyans returned from a blustery Beaver Park with nothing to show for their efforts following a convincing 45-20 victory for Beverley.
The home side were good value for their win and scored some excellent tries but Crocs will reflect on their characteristic solid defence being found wanting on occasions and unforced errors with ball in hand.
Like the previous week in the win over Old Rishworthians, they raced into an early lead but Beverley responded emphatically to lead 24-10 at half time.
Crocs scored early in the second half but were always chasing the game.
Josh Hunt produced a superb solo try midway through the half to narrow the deficit but two further tries to Beverley completed what was, ultimately, an impressive win.
Crocs dominated the opening exchanges and fully deserved their early lead with the first try coming on five minutes.
After a couple of penalties in their favour, Crocs spread the ball and with several players stacked on an overlap, Martin Hamer powered over the line and Callum Dunne converted.
When Beverley went on the attack a crunching tackle from Sam Ives forced a knock on and the Crocs’ lead was extended on the quarter hour when Dunne landed a penalty for a high tackle.
The restart went straight into touch but, crucially, Crocs lost their own scrum feed on half way and Beverley took advantage shortly after when Phil Duboulay raced through a gap and then converted his own try to
make it 7-10. A Duboulay penalty levelled the scores on the half hour from a penalty.
Influential second row man Tony Oxley had to leave the field with an injury and Crocs’ play was becoming more ragged with missed tackles in midfield and turning over the ball when in possession.
Beverley took advantage and scored two further tries in the closing minutes of the half. Duboulay side stepped the defence to touch down under the posts and his conversion gave Beverley the lead for the first time.
Arguably, a pivotal moment in the match was when Crocs laid siege to the Beverley line but the home team defended resolutely and kicked a penalty to touch.
Luke Hazell then broke in midfield and his eye catching, mazy run took him past several defenders to score in the right corner. The conversion made it 24-10 and a flowing Beverley move then faltered on the line.
Crocs regrouped and started the second period on the front foot. Awarded a penalty, they took the tap option and Joe Stott’s quick thinking saw him scamper over on the right wing.
Having reduced the lead to 24-15, Crocs then had a man yellow carded for handling in the ruck.
Beverley kicked to the corner, eventually enabling Jack Houseman to touch down and Duboulay’s conversion extended the advantage of 50 minutes.
From the restart, Crocs were awarded a series of penalties and Beverley had a player yellow carded. However, the numerical advantage swung back to Beverley almost immediately when a second Crocs player was given a yellow card.
Despite being a man down, Crocs responded with a brilliant solo try from Josh Hunt, who left opponents floundering as he carved a passage through the Beverley defence.
The conversion into an increasingly gusty wind fell short but the lead was cut to 31-20.
Any hopes of a dramatic comeback were dashed when Beverley scored two further tries in quick succession as the game entered the last 15 minutes.
Isaac Keighley crashed over from a five metre scrum and Hazell scored his second from half way, showing impressive pace. Both tries were converted by Duboulay and Beverley led 45-20.
Crocs finished on the attack in search of a fourth try and a bonus point but the move broke down close to the try line.