Crocs cling to promotion hope

One or two photographs from yesterdays game v, Yarnbury.'Crocs v Yarnbury''16   Ian Davies
One or two photographs from yesterdays game v, Yarnbury.'Crocs v Yarnbury''16 Ian Davies

Old Crossleyans player-coach Ryan Hammond has set his side the target of winning their last six games to give themselves a chance of promotion from Yorkshire Two.

The Broomfield men climbed to third in the table yesterday, beating visitors Yarnbury 31-22 to move above those rivals and inactive Goole.

Pontefract look booked for top spot and Crocs are now seven points behind second-placed Barnsley, who pay them a call in the penultimate game of the season.

Hammond, who put in his usual strong and busy performance at No 8, said: “As long as we keep winning we will keep the pressure on the others. We aim to win the rest of our games.”

The chance to join possibly Heath, Old Brodleians and Old Rishworthians in the division above is a big carrot for Crocs, who have shown major improvement this season after being spared the drop last summer.

A four-try bonus escaped Crocs yesterday but a 4-0 outcome in terms of match points was still a decent return against opponents chasing a fourth win a row.

Yesterday’s contest, played in bright, cold conditions, was a scrappy affair dominated by the referee’s whistle.

Crocs, with Craig Heppenstall back from injury at scrum half and powerful Mark Boothroyd starting at centre, picked up where they had left off in rattling up 55 points against Thornensians the previous week.

They were over the whitewash after four minutes, full back Callum Dunne handing off two defenders on a determined run to the line.

Dunne, a key arrival this season, converted on his way to scoring the hosts’ first 24 points before going off with a leg injury late on.

Ryan Hammond knocked on after brother Jack had broken through but Dunne kicked Crocs into a 13-0 lead after 25 minutes with two penalties, hitting the post with another attempt in between.

The visitors from Horsforth lost a lock to the sin-bin and had made little impact until their No 8 James Cryan caught out the home defence when he broke clear from a maul to touch down and stand off Danny Pound converted on 28 minutes.

Dunne’s third penalty of the half made it 16-7 on 32 minutes but Pound replied before home winger Freddie Walker went close in the corner at the end of the 40 minutes and managed to get himself sin-binned.

Nigerian lock Kolade Bobo was showing up well in his final game for the Crocs before his visa runs out but play continued to be disjointed.

Dunne’s fourth penalty made it 19-10 on 53 minutes and when Walker off-loaded in the tackle to set up a try for Dunne wide out six minutes later it looked game over at 24-10.

Yarnbury had other ideas in spite of having had their full back sin-binned. A succession of forward drives near the line led to blind side flanker Martin Rainey touching down at the side of the posts. Pound converted on 66 minutes.

Walker returned a kick in superb fashion but, after Dunne had missed a penalty, the winger lost the ball in contact and Yarnbury broke away to set up a tight finish.

Bobo halted the move temporarily, after teammates had missed tackles, but the visitors were not to be denied and open side flanker George Bowen scored.

Pound had a chance to make it 24-24 but pulled his conversion attempt wide under pressure on 78 minutes.

Crocs’ clinching score followed a good Joe Gallagher clearance and another scything run from the quicksilver Walker.

Yarnbury conceded a five metre scrum and Ryan Hammond forced his way over for a try converted by Gallagher.

HALIFAX Vandals’ hopes of staying up in the same section look remote after they lost 22-10 at home to Leodiensian.