Dinnington made a winning start to 2015, earning a bonus point in the process to move into third in the North One East table.
Their 27-21 victory at home to Old Crossleyans, coupled with surprise defeats for two of the top four, made it a great day for the Lodge Lane men.
The first game after the festive break has often been a stumbling block for Dinnington and with Crossleyans battling to get out of the bottom three this had all the makings of the proverbial banana skin.
That worry came as early as the first minute when Dinnington were penalised for going off their feet at a ruck and Crossleyans kicked themselves into a 3-0 lead.
Dinnington struggled to get out of their own half in the opening minutes of the game and went further behind to a second penalty after 10 minutes.
The hosts came back from this but the visitors’ defence dealt well with a kick through to clear their lines.
Fifteen minutes into the game another penalty saw Crossleyans stretch to a 9-0 lead but as the game went into its second quarter Dinnington started to gain the upper hand.
Two promising attacks came to nothing through errors before the home side created an opening for Tom Doughty to cross in the corner and this set up a short spell of pressure in the Crossleyans’ 22.
Dinnington came close to scoring soon afterwards but were blocked taking a quick tap at a penalty and Crossleyans had a player binned.
The home side pressed the visitors’ line but were penalised twice for holding on.
A third penalty allowed Crossleyans to clear into the home 22 but they too were penalised and Dinnington cleared.
A short period of play saw both sides being penalised before Dinnington created a chance late in the half.
However, a loose pass was gathered by the visitors who then ran the ball in under the posts to take a 16-5 lead into the break.
Dinnington almost made the perfect start to the second half as Crossleyans failed to deal with the restart and Will Marshall forced his way over the line.
Unfortunately, the referee was not in the best position and failed to see the ball being touched down.
This was the start of Dinnington dominating the game keeping the action inside the Crossleyans’ 22 but they kept making errors allowing the visitors to clear.
Ten minutes into the half the Dinnington pack demolished the visitors’ scrum to set up an attack and after Antony Ross had been stopped just short of the line, Marshall took up the ball to score. West converted.
Crossleyans came straight back and were unlucky not to cut the deficit with a 40 yard penalty which just missed the mark.
Dinnington were soon back on attack and drove a maul from half way to inside the visitors’ 22.
The ball was then moved wide where an infringement saw Crossleyans have another player sent to the bin.
Dinnington soon took advantage of the extra man as they battered the visitors’ line and just past the mid-point of the half a quickly taken penalty put Jonny West in for a try.
Five minutes later the forwards again drove a maul from halfway and this time Doughty was put in for his second try.
All the pressure was now coming from the home side and five minutes from time they took the scrum option at a penalty which led to West claiming his second try after Marshall was stopped short after a pick-and-go.
Crossleyans still had a surprise for Dinnington as they rallied in the final minutes scoring a try to give themselves a losing bonus point.
Dinnington will look to build on this good start when they travel to Newcastle to take on Northern on Saturday.