Pontefract made it six wins on the spin when they produced an impressive display to win 38-17 away to an Old Crossleyans side previously unbeaten on home soil this season in Yorkshire Division Two.
Despite awful conditions the backs got the job done well before the worst of the weather kicked in with Ponte running in six tries, three of them coming from Richard Hossack.
Both sides had won five of their first six league games and their enthusiasm was apparent in a feisty contest.
Scrum-half Craig Heppenstall gave Crocs a 3-0 lead by landing the more difficult of his two early penalties.
Ponte were already moving the ball menacingly and after the sin-binning of Crocs’ centre Jack Fairbank, for not retiring 10 metres at a tap penalty, winger Hossack crossed for the first of his tries on 12 minutes.
When Joe Gallagher sent the restart out on the full, the visitors were quick to capitalise. A clever kick into space was seized upon by centre Craig Fawcett, who broke two ineffective tackles. Stand-off Glen Boyd’s kick made it 12-3.
Crocs hit back when hooker Cameron Brannan intercepted on half-way and flanker Rob Oliver took his inside pass to score. Gallagher added the extras.
The slick visitors put the game out of the Crocs reach, however when Fawcett grabbed his second try following winger Tom Metcalfe’s hesitancy in dealing with a kick and Hossack finished off well after Matthew Bacon had made a strong run and offloaded.
The flying winger then weaved his way through the middle to complete a hat-trick for the second week running after taking a great pass by Boyd.
Boyd added two of the conversions and Ponte were sitting pretty with a 31-10 lead and Crocs’ Dwaine West in the sin-bin for most of the opening 10 minutes of the second half.
The second half was a much cagier affair with the weather worsening. The hosts kept battling and Brannan was awarded a score under a pile of bodies on 57 minutes.
Pontefract almost replied in the corner, but lost flanker Chris Sant to the sin-bin and Crocs might have moved to within losing bonus point territory had a penalty try been awarded when their advancing scrum was halted illegally near the visitors’ line. Instead, their possession failed to yield another score and the visitors got a sixth try as Dave Finlay showed his footballing skills after getting on the end of Boyd’s kick over. Boyd’s conversion completed the scoring.
Crocs’ Lewis Sharpe and Ponte’s Jack Beddis were yellow carded in the closing seconds, but the visitors saw out the remainder in a performance that put a real marker down for the rest of the season. The win enabled Ponte to open up a six-point gap on third-placed Old Crossleyans and they remain level on points with leaders Yarnbury ahead of hosting tenth-placed Wetherby this Saturday.
Castleford suffered a second successive Yorkshire Three defeat as they lost out 29-6 away to leaders Northallerton. After winning their first five matches the sudden downturn has seen Castleford slip down to third, but they will be looking to get back on track at home to tenth-placed Sheffield Medicals this Saturday.
Hemsworth are going in the other direction as they followed up their win over Castleford with a 31-17 success at home to Leeds Modernians in Yorkshire Three.
They are now up to eighth and can go into this Saturday’s game at Leeds Medics and Dentists with confidence.
Knottingley were involved in another tight Yorkshire Three game and not for the first time this season were unlucky to narrowly lose out. At home to Stocksbridge, they did earn a losing bonus point, but were edged out 26-24. They have a chance to climb off the basement at home to second from bottom Baildon this Saturday.