Gareth Sweeney’s penalty deep into stoppage time secured a dramatic 17-15 win for Yorkshire One leaders Old Crossleyans away to Hullensians.
There was only time for the restart, which Crocs unceremoniously kicked into touch knowing they had escaped with an unlikely victory.
The result was tough on the home side who had withstood a barrage of pressure in the first half. Their defence was excellent and Crocs only had one converted try to show for all their territory and possession.
Crocs made changes to the side that beat Beverley. Chris Vine started at scrum half and Sweeney came in on the right wing. Jack Hammond, recently returned from injury, was rested and James Wainwright took a place on the bench.
Crocs dominated the opening exchanges setting the pattern for much of the half. They eventually took the lead after 10 minutes following a quick tap penalty. Tony Oxley and Jack Pilcher drove the ball in hard and Crocs showed the necessary patience and discipline to stretch the Hullensians’ defence.
When the ball was released down the back line Joel McFarlane finished well in the corner and Callum Dunne’s excellent conversion extended the lead to 7-0.
Crocs were very much in the ascendancy. Mark Boothroyd and Ryan Hammond combined to breach the midfield defence and Hullensians persisted in kicking away possession.
Callum Dunne went on an arcing run deep into the Hullensians’ half but resolute defending kept the home line intact.
Crocs then began forcing passes and were unable to convert the pressure into points.
Joe Gallagher’s towering kick was well gathered by Joel McFarlane and shortly after Martin Hamer broke the defensive line but the pass to winger Josh Hunt was adjudged to be forward.
Having soaked up all the pressure, Hullensians got on the scoreboard approaching half time when, following several phases of possession, Josh Langford finished well in the corner to make it 5-7 at half time.
The second half began with Martin Hamer running a high clearance deep into the Hullensians’ half. Having established an attacking platform, Joel McFarlane’s break created space for Dunne to force his way over in the corner. He converted for a 14-5 lead.
This prompted an immediate response from Hullensians and, following successive penalties, they mauled to within yards of the try line. Jordan Knapp ran powerfully onto a crash ball and touched down by the posts. Chris Lound converted.
Crocs’ lineout was now misfiring and Hullensians took the lead with a Lounds penalty after 65 minutes, Crocs having a man yellow carded for a high tackle.
Josh Hunt brilliantly ran the ball back from his own half to set up an attacking position close to the Hullensians’ try line. Crocs lost the ball in contact but Dunne surged effortlessly into Hullensians territory from deep in his own half.
Crocs turned down an eminently kickable penalty and a cross kick to the corner was caught by the hosts’ Josh Langford who sprinted down the left wing. Somehow, the cover got across to prevent the try but the referee penalised the defender with a yellow card and Crocs were down to 14 men again entering stoppage time.
To their immense credit Crocs launched one last assault and this time they showed the necessary composure to win a ruck penalty and Sweeney took his chance.