Rochdale Hornets pulled away from North Wales Crusaders in the final quarter to pick up a 38-28 victory and move above them into the final play-off place.
The home side raced into a healthy 20-6 lead within the opening half an hour and had new signing Rangi Chase to thank for a lot of the success they had.
However, the former Super League Man of Steel picked up an injury to his arm and, with Rochdale needing to shuffle their side around, Crusaders began to get a foothold in the game, making sure they were still in the contest by half-time.
With nothing to choose between the teams on the hour mark, experienced heads like Fuifui Moimoi and Sean Penkywicz came up with some big plays when they mattered most to see off Crusaders.
Rochdale took the lead when they assaulted the right flank and Lewis Sheridan cut inside from the wing to cross.
It didn’t take long for them to build on their advantage as a lovely cut-out pass from Chase put Dan Nixon over in the corner.
Crusaders did come up with a response, however, as Matt Reid broke down the left wing. Despite the Hornets intercepting a pass, the ball went to ground and Reid recollected for Gav Rodden to dive over.
But two quick-fire tries put Rochdale back in the ascendency. Ben Calland broke the line and had Danny Yates in support to finish, before Luke Fowden crashed over from close range.
As the hosts looked like they’d be going into half-time with a comfortable lead, North Wales grabbed a double to reduce the deficit to just two points.
Jordy Gibson lofted a high kick into the air, Rochdale let the ball bounce and it dropped nicely for Rob Massam to cross in the corner.
Reid then broke down the left wing and space opened up for Tommy Johnson to put in Connor Aspey.
The start of the second-half was a real arm wrestle with both sides cancelling each other out, but they did have a try disallowed apiece.
Rochdale were pulled back for obstruction as they crossed down the left, while a pass to Massam was adjudged to have gone forward.
As it appeared there could be a grandstand finish with just two points still separating the sides, Moimoi came up with a big play to stretch the Hornets’ advantage, twisting in the tackle to bulldoze his way over.
Paul Brearley then broke the line down the left and had Yates in support on his inside to put the result beyond any doubt.
However, Crusaders did keep on plugging away and a nice offload from Callum Hazzard allowed Chris Barratt to crash over underneath the sticks.
After Moimoi grabbed a second to give Rochdale more of a cushion once again, Massam squeezed over in the left corner to reduce the deficit to ten points.
Despite North Wales’ best efforts with Karl Ashall having an effort ruled out as Reid stepped into touch, the Hornets held on for the win.
6 Lewis Sheridan
2 Shaun Ainscough
3 Ben Calland
12 Jordan Syme
27 Dan Nixon
33 Rangi Chase
15 Danny Yates
11 Josh Jordan-Roberts
21 Ben Moores
8 Callum Marriott
40 Cole Oakley
39 Paul Brearley
20 Zac Baker
9 Sean Penkywicz
17 Fuifui Moimoi
18 Luke Fowden
24 Ben Forster
Tries: Sheridan (4), Nixon (11), Yates (21, 68), Fowden (27), Moimoi (63, 74),
Goals: Jordan-Roberts 3/4, Baker 2/3
1 Tommy Johnson
15 Pat Ah Van
3 Ben Morris
4 Matt Reid
5 Rob Massam
6 Brad Billsborough
7 Jordy Gibson
16 Brad Brennan
9 Karl Ashall
10 Callum Hazzard
11 Gav Rodden
12 Alex Eckley
13 Chris Barratt
14 Connor Aspey
17 James Thornton
18 Jack Cottington
8 Ethan O’Hanlon
Tries: Rodden (19), Massam (37, 76), Aspey (40), Barratt (70)
Goals: Johnson 4/5
Referee: James Vella