Dronfield vs Old Crossleyans
Dronfield vs Old Crossleyans - Image

A very wet pitch and windy weather set the scene for a scrappy game between Dronfield and Old Crossleyans, with the visitors needing a win to boost their chances of survival. Dronfield made a couple of changes to their starting XV with Luke Isham and Josh Addison promoted following their showings from the bench the previous week.
Old Crossleyans elected to play up the hill in the first half and Dronfield started strongly kicking off deep into the 22. Early territory soon provided an early penalty to the hosts, but a tough chance given the conditions was missed to the left of the uprights. From the resulting 22m drop out Jack Longden made a break down the left to move Dronfield back into the red zone. With strong carries from Luke Isham and Adam Davies resulting in a second kickable penalty for Dronfield. This time Joe Farrell made no mistake giving Dronfield and early 3-0 lead.
For the first time in the game Old Crossleyans found some good field position and were rewarded with a penalty of their own. Their Scrum Half J. Stott missed with a drop goal attempt to the left of the posts. The visitors continued to retain possession in the Dronfield half but a strong turnover by Josh Addison allowed Mike Reynolds to free George Finlay down the right touch line. The line break was supported by Reika Mahmid with the two outside backs linking well to beat a number of defenders before the final pass was dropped by Reynolds for what would have been a certain try.
At this point Dronfield were on top and a sustained period of possession started by yet another long kick return by the hard working back 3 resulted in a penalty for a deliberate knock on. Dronfield sensing they were on top opted to run the ball before a high tackle on Finlay led to a yellow card to the Old Crossleyans captain, who was perhaps lucky not to see red. This led to Dronfields first backline reshuffle of the day with Matt Hale moving to the centres from the pack to cover for Finlay who was getting patched up on the touchline.
Again Dronfield turned down the chance at 3 points and opted to scrum against the depleted Crossleyans pack. Strong forwards carried allowed the backs space in the wider channels and Iwan Hutchings again deputising at fly half put Chris Pond into a gap to score wide left. Farrell missed a difficult conversion. 8-0.
The remainder of the half carried on as the previous 20 minutes with strong forwards carries being repelled on the 5m line. The visitors were holding on and were repeatedly adjudged to have strayed offside with a further yellow card given for team infringements. Despite dominating the territory and possession Dronfield failed to add to their earlier scores.
Now playing up hill into the wind Dronfield started the second half well with strong carries from Andy Chambers and the pack leading to a period of kick tennis that was ended by a long range 50-22 from Mahmid taking the game to the top 22 for the first time. Old Crossleyans knew they were up against it and their off the ball antics perhaps caused their own distraction as Pond put Hale under the posts to score the only points of the day up the hill. 15-0.

As conditions continued to deteriorate the slope became an important factor and Dronfield were pegged back on their line for a sustained defensive set. Eventually the pressure told and the Beswick scored to open the game up. 15 -7.
Despite their long defensive set Dronfield still looked to play with ball in hand and a good spell of possession led them up field with a number of half breaks. The attack was halted with a penalty to the visitors 5m out from the tryline. Unforced Dronfield errors again let Old Crossleyans back into good attacking positions with a second penalty miss soon following.
With time running out Dronfield eventual conceded a second try wide out, leading to another tough shot at goal missed. 15-12 with 80 minutes on the clock and just time for a restart. Dronfield were aware of this and a clever kick off from Hale skidded its way into touch leading to the full time whistle.
A tough ground out result at home for Dronfield ahead of a week off and then an away trip to Goole to try and reverse the earlier season result.

Tries: Chris Pond, Matt Hale
Conversions: Farrell 1
Penalties: Farrell 1

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