DINNINGTON Rugby Club’s firsts got 2012 off to the worst possible start, with a 20-10 defeat at Castleford, sparking relegation fears.
The result saw the two clubs swap places in the division with Dinnington dropping to the bottom and giving themselves a mountain to climb.
Even the most optimistic of Dinnington supporters must surely doubt whether they can escape relegation for the third year in a row especially as their next game is at home to leaders Bridlington.
Dinnington faced a very strong wind in the first 40 minutes, struggling to get out of their own half, but by getting to half time only three points behind, should really have taken the game on the second.
Missed tackles allowed Castleford to take the lead after 14 minutes with an unconverted try but some excellent defending twice prevented further scores.
However, that good work was spoilt when Castleford were gifted another try just past the midpoint of the half.
From the restart, Castleford attempted to run the ball out of their own half only to knock on, giving David Longstaffe the opportunity to pick up and run in behind the posts for a try converted by Chris Williams.
The rest of the half was a mixture of errors and poor decisions by both sides but the advantage appeared to be with Dinnington at the half time whistle.
Dinnington began the second half on the attack keeping Castleford pinned in their own half.
But with only four minutes of the half gone the home side sprung a surprise as they broke clear to run in their third try from 40 metres out.
Dinnington came back but their inability to control their possession meant that they could not keep up any sustained pressure.
Even when they did, luck was not on their side.
With10 minutes to go Williams landed a penalty from close to the home 10-metre line to set up Dinnington for a storming finish but they failed to capitalise on good field positions.
With virtually the last play of the game Castleford denied Dinnington a losing bonus point with a penalty.
Dinnington have found themselves in this position for the last three seasons but if they avoid relegation this time that would be the greatest of all escapes.
On Saturday they are at home to Bridlington.