Old Crossleyans’ survival hopes in Yorkshire One received a massive shot in the arm with a 22-16 home win over Bradford Salem yesterday.
The Broomfield men’s first victory of 2016 moved them five points clear of inactive bottom two Selby and West Park Leeds, who have played fewer games.
Outstanding individual performances from returning brothers Jack and Billy Hammond and Chris Vine from a different fullback role, gave Crocs some much-needed impetus going forward.
Player-coach Mark Walton started at scrum half with Jack Hammond outside him and Kiwi Zane Sanders and the returning Neil Richardson in the centre. Sam Broughton returned at No 8.
Crocs were 6-0 down after four minutes to two Danny Belcher penalties but got back into the hunt when Jack Hammond emerged from a crowd of players on the 22 to cross by the posts.
With Ryan Sweeney absent, Sanders took the kick and missed - a mistake which could have come back to haunt the hosts.
Vine took over the goalkicking duties and nudged Crocs 8-6 ahead on 22 minutes with a penalty which went in off an upright.
Crocs pressure was rewarded when Billy Hammond made a break and brother Jack broke through tackles to score under the posts, Vine converting on 33 minutes.
Things got even better for the home supporters two minutes later when flanker James Wainwright intercepted and Billy Hammond took the pass to touch down. Vine converted and Crocs took a 22-6 lead into the second half.
Belcher kicked his third penalty on 45 minutes but Crocs continued to press and Broughton knocked on with the line beckoning.
Salem survived 10 minutes under the cosh and when they broke and Jack Hammond was yellow carded, the scales started to tip.
When brother Billy was also sin-binned, Crocs were down to 13 and eventually the visitors created an overlap for winger Alex Wood to score in the corner, Belcher adding a fine conversion.
The referee came to the home side’s rescue when he ruled a forward pass as Salem looked set to score.
Returned to 15 players, Crocs took the game back to their opponents with Vine prominent and comfortably saw the game through to the final whistle.