SHEFFIELD Tigers maintained their slim promotion hopes with a 25-16 home victory over National Three (Midlands) rivals Longton on Saturday.
Fourth-placed Tigers closed the gap on second-placed Longton with the three-try victory, and could move into a play-off spot if they win their remaining two matches and Longton lose next Saturday.
Two penalties from stand-off Chris Buck put Longton into a 6-0 lead after 15 minutes, but Tigers led 13-6 at half time.
Stand-off Jonny West converted his own 20th minute try, and then added two penalties on 36 and 38 minutes.
After the break Tigers looked like stretching away with outside centre Tom Outram touching down, West converting, and prop Sam Lockwood scoring on 48 minutes to lead 25-6 with 30 minutes left.
But the points dried up, and Longton hit back with two tries as they made an ultimately unsuccessful bid for a losing bonus point.
Second-placed Sheffield beat Yorkshire Division One champions Malton and Norton 35-31 in Malton’s final league match of the season at Abbeydale Park.
Despite the narrow outcome, earning Malton two bonus points, Sheffield were in control from the start going ahead after three minutes when prop Tommy Marples crashed over.
Three penalty goals and a conversion from Donal Collins when winger James Montgomery raced over put the Abbeydale side 21-0 up after half an hour.
Malton pulled back a converted try before half time and then stormed into a 24-21 lead within a quarter of an hour of the turnround.
Sheffield regained the upper hand with converted tries by No 8 and captain Andy Kelly and centre Joe Cribley to put the home side back into a 35-24 lead. But Malton winger Henry Newitt raced over for his second try, converted by their Papua New Guinea goal kicker Teei Piawi.
There was joy for Dinnington when they escaped relegation with a narrow 13-10 win at Ilkley in Yorkshire One.
Dinnington were the better team throughout, but found themselves 10-0 down against the run of play after an Ilkley penalty goal and try from their Kiwi No 8 Hamish Pratt.
Both second-half tries came from pushovers. First No 8 Will Marshall crashed over, and then added a penalty goal from Danny Wilkinson.
But they left it late. Their pressure was rewarded with a try by flanker Ryan Donnelly with five minutes remaining.
Dinnington have retained their Yorkshire One place with an impressive finish to the season. Their win put them ahead of Selby who will now be relegated after losing 28-21 at home to North Ribblesdale.
After two successive defeats Wath on Dearne ended their campaign with a 15-13 home win over Airebrough. A penalty kick from Ben Keen in the last two minutes secured the points. Wath were assured of the Yorkshire Three title after winning their first 21 games.
See tomorrow’s Grassroots for our rugby union special.