Old Crossleyans’ relegation fears in Yorkshire Two grew with a 19-8 defeat away to old adversaries Thornensians yesterday.
They remain second from bottom and need to overtake Leodiensian, who remain two points ahead of them after being crushed at Old Rishworthians.
It was a familiar tale for Crocs yesterday as they again looked capable of winning at half time, only to give away soft points at vital stages.
In glorious sunshine, Crocs were the brighter side early on. With James Cooper dominating the line outs, the visitors drove hard at the home line on several occasions in the opening quarter without reward.
However, an infringement at the breakdown gave recently arrived South African Devin Wells the opportunity to put Crocs in front with a well-judged penalty.
When play switched to the other half, instead of relying on the impressive boot of fly half Wells to clear their lines, Crocs tried to run the ball from deep in defence and a dropped pass led to the opening try for the hosts.
James Wainwright caught the eye with a good turnover, followed by a break which resulted in debutant winger Sam Holmes being tackled into touch yards short of the line.
Another debutant, scrum half James Highley, was prompting his pack, who were gaining the upper hand against much bigger opponents.
Wells again showed his class with a chip through before gathering the ball at pace and diving over in the corner to give the visitors a deserved 8–7 lead at the interval.
Crocs needed to play down the touchlines, courtesy of fly half’s Wells kicking ability and benefit from their line out dominance. Instead, they constantly tried to drive the ball out of defence and turnovers occurred.
A cruel stroke of fortune hit them hard. A Wells penalty from wide out hit a post and rebounded into a grateful Thorne player’s hands. The hosts broke out and went 90 metres, through some woeful tackling to regain the lead against the run of play.
Cameron Smith, another youngster, replaced the hard working George Hammond for his debut, and Crocs had a youthful appearance with Highley, Holmes and fellow teenagers Joe Wilkinson and Nathan Cooper in their ranks.
Instead of regaining the initiative, Crocs went into their shell and it was no surprise when more weak tackling allowed the home side to complete the scoring with another try under the posts.