Old Crossleyans ended a run of seven close games with an ultimately comfortable 36-16 win over West Park Leeds at Broomfield yesterday.
They hit back from 8-3 down in the second quarter to strengthen their grip on fourth place in Yorkshire One, hooker Cameron Brannan diving over the line for their bonus-point try in the closing seconds.
In truth it was a low-quality encounter not helped by an unconvincing refereeing display and a cream egg of a pitch; very soft in the centre.
West Park Leeds had won three of their previous four outings, losing only by two points to leaders Pontefract, but it was hard to see why with their failings in the lineout and an absence of a backs threat particular handicaps.
Crocs had half a dozen first choice players missing and gave debuts to youngsters Joe Stott at scrum half and George Ackroyd on the wing.
They are a top of the ground side but produced what fluent handling there was and had the better kicking game, courtesy of stand off Joe Gallagher.
Fullback Callum Dunne, deputising as goal kicker for the injured Gareth Sweeney, scored the only points of an untidy first quarter with a fifth minute penalty for offside, after Gallagher’s cross kick had just eluded Ackroyd.
Neither side could win their own lineout ball and the Crocs scrum was in retreat until prop Phil Schedlbauer arrived in the nick of time, just after the match programmes, to help stave off the threat of a West Park pushover try.
A Gallagher tip tackle enabled visiting stand off Callum Smithson to make it 3-3 on 23 minutes and West Park swept in front three minutes later when a long cut-out pass enabled centre Ioan Jones to stride through for an unconverted try.
Crocs had a good spell in possession but looked to be struggling for penetration until they swung the ball to the bottom touchline where Ackroyd side-stepped a rival and sent in Dunne for a try.
The fullback was unable to convert but gave Crocs an 11-8 interval lead with a straightforward penalty after some strong running from lock Kolade Bobo.
Old warhorse Andy Day won a breakdown penalty shortly after the resumption and Dunne made it 14-8.
Dunne and Jack Hammond then figured in a fine handling move to send in Ackroyd, who sensibly cut in closer to the posts before touching down to allow for an easier Dunne conversion.
A needless yellow card for an attempted trip by lock George Hammond allowed West Park to eat into Crocs’ 21-8 lead. A Smithson penalty was followed by a try from No 8 Andrew Major as the visiting forwards flexed their muscles.
However, it was the home pack which finished on top as Park were hit by a couple of injuries.
Dunne made it 24-16 on 67 minutes when the visitors were shoved off their own scrum ball and conceded a penalty.
Ackroyd claimed a try when he and the visiting fullback got to the ball from Gallagher’s cross kick simultaneously but the referee bizarrely came across to tell his assessor that he was unsighted after rolling his ankle and awarded a five metre scrum to Crocs.
Gallagher was unstoppable from player-coach Ryan Hammond’s pass and Dunne’s conversion opened a 15-point lead.
That left only a fourth try needed to complete Crocs’ satisfactory afternoon. Successive poor attempted clearances from West Park paved the way for a strong final assault on the visitors’ try line and Brannan ensured the additional point.