SHEFFIELD Tigers started their Christmas celebrations early with a 35-10 victory over higher-placed Hull in their last National Two North clash of 2011 at Dore Moor.
Although Hull are only one place above Tigers, they were nine league points clear which has now been cut to four points thanks to Tigers’ four-try bonus.
In fact, the Dore club – after leading from the second minute - capped their win with a fifth try in the last minute of the game.
Full-back Peter Swatkins scored the first and last tries, and there were others from hooker Ali Thomson, winger James Broadley and centre Jon Buchanan – all five converted in fine style by Jonny West.
Hull had the bigger pack and a greater percentage of the ball, but Tigers tackled brilliantly and proved more than a match in the backs. They led by 21 points at half- time, and were 28-0 ahead before Hull hit back with two unconverted tries in the space of six minutes.
Sheffield also faced higher-placed opponents in North One East, and their 15-15 draw against Wheatley Hills at Doncaster moved them up to fourth position – their best ranking since winning the opening match of the season.
Stand-off Donal Collins kicked a couple of penalties and a drop goal in the first half as Sheffield opened up a 9-0 lead at the break.
The home side hit back to narrow the gap to 8-9, but Sheffield extended their lead with Collins adding two more penalties in the final 20 minutes.
But Wheatley scored an injury time converted try to ensure a share of the spoils.
Dinnington, next to bottom in Yorkshire Division One, went oh-so-close to causing an upset in their home match against title contenders Driffield, but in the end it was another tale of woe as they sank to a 17-7 defeat.
With the score at 10-7, they were denied even a losing bonus point when Driffield, after a failed drop goal attempt, were gifted a try under the posts by the luck of the bounce in the last move of the game. Flanker John Marshall had touched down in the second half for Dinnington, Chris Williams landing the conversion kick.
Yorkshire Two title contenders Barnsley salvaged a losing bonus when they were handed a 23-16 defeat at Hullensians. but the result saw them lose their lead to Bradford Salem on score points.
Barnsley led 8-5 after a penalty from Patrick Jensen and a try by No 8 and skipper David Reed, but from the half hour mark they were playing catch-up as Jensen added another penalty and Reed touched down again in the 80th minute.
Wath on Dearne moved up to third place behind Salem and Barnsley when they pulled off a 28-13 home win over Doncaster Phoenix.
No 8 Matt Burrows, fly-half Ashley Rothery and second row Simon Lines scored tries for Wath, with Ben Keen converting two and adding three penalty goals.
Phoenix, trailing 28-8, ended on a high when second row Sam Canning-Birtles crashed over in the closing stages.
Sheffield Medicals, second in Yorkshire Three, pulled a further point clear of Rotherham Phoenix when they ran in seven tries in their 41-13 victory at Halifax Vandals and this was when Medicals, had turned round 13-7 down after a lone try by flanker George Cusworth. But they made more of the conditions after changing ends, with two tries from No 8 Matthew Clark rand others coming from Ed Farmer, James McLeod, Ben Winters and Peter Goodwin.
Rotherham Phoenix were 17-7 home winners over Burley with tries from flanker Andy Stewart and winger John Bunclarke,Tom Jenkinson converted both.
Match of the Day - Wheatley v Sheffield: See Grassroots on Friday.