Old Crossleyans’ fears of a second successive relegation grew when they suffered an agonising 22-18 defeat at West Park Leeds in a Yorkshire One basement battle yesterday.
A superb goal kicking display from winger Ryan Sweeney, who kicked six penalties from seven shots, gave them an 18-15 lead going into the closing seconds.
However, a maul involving almost all of the home side produced a match winning try for the young hosts and there was no time to restart after the successful conversion from Ed Crossland.
Bizarrely, Crocs’ losing bonus point moved them out of the bottom two, above Selby who lost 20-0 at home to Malton and Norton.
However, West Park Leeds are now only three points behind the pair of them with Yarnbury, beaten 15-14 at home by Hullensians, four in front.
Crocs, who had won the first meeting 26-21 in mid-October, were 12-0 down after 10 minutes yesterday.
The hosts scored a pushover try credited to No 8 John Fletcher and crossed again via centre Sam Booth, Crossland converting.
Play swung from end to end and while Crocs again showed little cohesion, they forced their hosts into conceding penalties and Sweeney’s deadly left boot hit the target four times to get the visitors on terms two minutes before the interval.
Jack Hammond made a shortlived appearance and forwards Cayci Pearson and Manny Riaz also went off injured.
Centre James Wainwright was doing his best to get Crocs going and Sweeney kicked the Broomfield men into a 15-12 lead, only for Crossland to reply after 55 minutes.
Sweeney restored the visitors’ advantage with 10 minutes left but Crocs were then under the cosh and they were unable to hold out, flanker Clayton Hill getting the all-important score for the hosts.