An outstanding final day effort from Old Crossleyans was in vain as they were relegated from Yorkshire Two on Saturday.
The Broomfield men did all they could by picking up a bonus-point win in a 38-21 success at home to Pontefract, only to discover that Leodiensian had stayed above them by beating visitors Old Grovians 28-22.
Crocs showed what might have been against third-placed Pontefract if Saturday’s side had been in place all season, with much credit going to coach Ian Yates and his assistant Richard Wheale for turning things around.
The crowd, boosted by a pre-match luncheon and enjoying the sunshine, were entertained by a free flowing game. Six of the nine tries went to the home side and there were some outstanding ones among them.
Devin Wells, in his final appearance before flying off to Australia the following day, started the trend with a well worked move down the blind side of a scrum, using his pace and running skills to score in the corner.
Shortly afterwards, Billy Hammond made a superb break from well inside his own half before drawing the full back and putting Ryan Sweeney over for a try, the winger converting his own score.
With a 12 point lead it looked promising for the home side but recurring habits were soon back in evidence. Touch was missed from penalty kicks and the slick visiting backs scored twice, both converted by impressive full back Liam Kaye.
Crocs full back Nathan Cooper had to leave the field with a leg injury, being replaced by another teenager in Sam Holmes.
Pontefract hooker Jonny Hill was shown a yellow card by Durham referee Simon Williams for a high tackle and the visitors appeared to be getting on the wrong side of the official with constant back chatting.
Despite being the dominant side it looked as if the Crocs would reach the interval in arrears, until dangerous skipper Jack Hammond burst through and sent fellow centre Joe Wilkinson under the posts, Ryan Sweeney converted for a 19-14 interval lead.
Crocs opened the second half on the attack with James Wainwright winning ball at the breakdown and Raman Sembi dominating the line-outs.
When Wainwright was blatantly tripped heading for the posts, the referee allowed advantage and Wells slipped a back handed pass to put Ryan Sweeney in for his second try.
The official hadn’t forgot the original offence and sent flanker Tadya Nyanjawa to the sin bin.
Crocs were rampant, Billy Hammond made another break and the ball went through several pairs of hands before Holmes scored his first try in a first team jersey, Ryan Sweeney added a superb touchline conversion.
Further pressure was rewarded when play continued from what looked a blatant knock-on and Wainwright gleefully touched down under the posts, Sweeney converted and the Crocs were out of sight at 38-14.
Pontefract refused to give in and left winger Richard Dedicoat finished off a well worked move converted by Kaye.
Boj Sembi replaced Wheale and had the crowd roaring with a typical barn storming run while prop Phil Schedlbauer made some customary charges in what could be his final game.
When the referee’s final whistle sounded the home players quickly turned to the side-lines but the news from Leeds was not good.