If you want to see Old Crossleyans at their best this season it seems that you have to be prepared to travel,
The Broomfield side gave ample evidence of this yesterday when they lost 27-15 at home to Grovians, having won comprehensively at Thorne the previous week.
A combination of dropped passes, turnovers at the breakdown, numerous penalties conceded and a string of missed kicks at goal all contributed to coming second best against a very impressive and well organised Grovians side.
The visitors now join the home side in third place in the Yorkshire Two table, courtesy of their bonus point win.
Crocs seemed to be caught sleeping by the earlier kick off and only came into the game in the final quarter, two late tries giving some encouragement. Before then they failed to really threaten the Bradford side’s try line.
Crocs had several opportunities to take the lead but Gareth Sweeney, with a swirling wind at his back, was just off target with three chances in the opening quarter.
Grovians then drove a line out a full 30 metres before releasing their quick back line to open the scoring with a try in the corner.
A yellow card issued to the visiting No 7 for preventing skipper James Wainwright’s quick tap penalty gave Sweeney another chance which he converted.
However play quickly switched to the other end and the Grovians kicker, who had also previously found the wind to be difficult, returned the favour.
Ollie Coyne and Manolo Bobo were striving hard to take the Crocs forward and stand off Joe Gallagher gave them some reward with a clever kick deep inside the Grovians half, but yet again the ball was lost, this time at the line out.
A string of penalties awarded to the Grovians just before the break allowed them to demonstrate a well worked move round the front of the line and increase their lead to 15-3 at half time.
The interval break gave Crocs the chance to regroup but the visitors took advantage of a dropped ball early in the second stanza to increase their lead to 20-3.
Boj Sembi came off the bench and immediately gave the Crocs some of the drive that they had been lacking, but spilled passes allowed Grovians to move the ball downfield and from a five metre scrum the v number 8 picked up from the base and plunged over.
Lewis Sharpe made a couple of impressive breaks from deep in his own half to start what proved to be Crocs’ most productive period of the game and he and replacement James Cooper caught the eye with their strong running.
The visiting number 7 once again transgressed and referee Jonathan Hill had no hesitation in issuing him his second yellow card. From the subsequent penalty, Crocs ran hard at the visitors’ line and player coach Ryan Hammond cleverly gave an inside pass to the supporting Cooper who surged under the posts. Sweeney added the extras.
Replacements Sembi and Cooper, along with the tireless driving of Coyne and the hard working Hammond, took the Crocs forward and at last they put the dangerous running of Scott Caley into space.
The ball was moved swiftly to Sweeney wide out on the right wing and he sprinted 30 metres to the try line for a well worked try.
Wainwright continued to test the Grovians defence with some sniping runs from scrum half, but the visitors’ defence rallied and it was fitting that Crocs’ final attempt to salvage a losing bonus point was thwarted by another penalty conceded at the ruck area.