Old Crossleyans secured their sixth win on the road this season in Yorkshire Two following a hard fought 18-14 win over lowly Leodiensian at Crag Lane yesterday.
The first half performance was particularly impressive with backs and forwards combining effectively and scoring two excellent tries.
Arguably, they should have built a more substantial lead, such was their dominance.
The second half was a different story as Leodiensian staged a convincing fightback, dominating possession and territory for long periods. Trademark quality defending from Crocs ensured they held on for the win.
The pitch was, understandably, very heavy and it is to the credit of both teams that they tried to play an expansive game.
Crocs took the lead after two minutes with a Gareth Sweeney penalty.
The left wingman then combined with Callum Dunne and Freddie Walker to take play deep into Leos’ territory as Crocs looked to move the ball through the backs at every opportunity with the pack having provided the platform.
The Leeds side kicked a penalty to the corner only for Raman Sembi to steal their line out ball.
The lead was extended on 17 minutes when Sweeney landed his second penalty after the opposition failed to roll away at the tackle.
At this stage Crocs were controlling play and they extended the lead midway through the half with a finely executed try.
The forwards controlled possession, patiently built the phases and then released the back line. Dunne and Sweeney combined, drew the last defender and full back Dunne touched down under the posts. Sweeney’s conversion made it 13-0.
On the half hour Jack Hammond made a break and Walker surged through the cover before passing inside to the captain, who had continued his run to finish off a flowing move. The conversion was missed.
Leodiensian got on the scoreboard when Crocs spilled the ball, allowing Chris Gillman-White to pick up and run in for the try. Ed Farmer’s conversion made it 18-7.
Crocs poured into the Leo’s half following a dummy from James Wainwright and a supporting run from Cam Brannan. The ball was recycled and Crocs camped on the Leos’ line. A third ‘try’ was ruled out after the referee adjudged there to have been a double movement in the grounding.
Leodiensian finished the half strongly but Crocs forced turnover ball.
From the restart Leodiensian were on the front foot and applied real pressure but were unable to break the line and struggled to retain the ball.
A period of scrappy play followed and Leodiensian failed to make the most of a couple of opportunities before Ian Davies relieved the pressure by breaking deep into the opposition half supported by Walker and Wainwright.
Crocs appeared to have weathered the storm but some uncharacteristic sloppy defending allowed Mark McDaid to score by the posts and Farmer’s conversion reduced the lead to 18-14 with seven minutes to play.
Sensing a crucial win, Leodiensian finished strongly helped by the concession of penalties in quick succession for offside and a high tackle.
A potential scoring opportunity was called back for a forward pass and Crocs held on.