A lack of composure undermined Old Crossleyans’ strident efforts as they went down to a 32-19 defeat at home to Scarborough yesterday.
In a game of fluctuating fortunes, they hit back from 17-0 down after 12 minutes to lead 19-17 at the break.
However, they spent most of the second half in their own territory, quickly handing back what little possession they gained, as the competent visitors pulled clear to follow up their 32-15 victory at Silver Royd in mid-November.
A worrying afternoon for Crocs was completed by the news of Selby’s bonus-point win over Heath, which leaves the Broomfield men perilous close to the perceived drop zone with four games against sides from the top half of the table to come.
Long-serving stand off Gareth Ott was a surprise and welcome inclusion in a home line-up which looked set for a long afternoon when the huge visiting pack quickly made its mark.
They don’t come much bigger than tight head prop Wesley Langkilde, who steamrollered his way over the line twice in the opening stages.
In between his scores, a clever kick to the flank from stand off Tomasz Chadwick, plus a favourable bounce, enabled centre Anthony Coffey to touch down.
Coffey converted his own try and although he missed with the other two goal attempts, the seasiders had ominously strolled into a good lead.
Crocs produced a heartening response with confidence gained from the previous week’s win over Bradford Salem.
Flanker Billy Hammond forced his way over and then winger Luke Saltonstall crossed after Kiwi Langkilde’s ill-advised attempt at an off-load on half-way.
Fullback Chris Vine added both conversions, the second of them a particularly fine effort.
Crocs had the bit between their teeth. Zane Sanders knocked on with the line open from Vine’s inside pass and Gareth Sweeney twice raced away down the left. He was hauled down five metres short on the second occasion.
The home pack were unable to maul their way over the try line but good support play and fine handling enabled winger Sweeney to touch down and although Vine was unable to convert, Crocs had hit the front on 35 minutes.
Scarborough should have regained the lead before the interval but fullback Tom Ratcliffe put a penalty wide and then knocked on wide out with the line beckoning.
The second half was something of an anti-climax for home supporters with the lineout failing to function and hearts ruling heads for the desperate home side.
The visitors went back in front on 53 minutes, with Crocs replacement Rory Davis in the sin-bin, when impressive No 8 Isaac Faamau drove over and Ratcliffe added the goal from the touchline.
Ott made a crucial tackle after his opposite number Chadwick had ghosted through but the home side were unable to escape.
Ratcliffe’s 68th minute penalty increased the gap between the sides to eight points and young scrum half Jordan Wakeman put the outcome beyond doubt when he side-stepped over for an unconverted try with six minutes left.
Crocs made a late bid to salvage a losing bonus point on the back of Vine’s break but Billy Hammond knocked on in an advanced position.