Rossendale got their new year off to the worse possible start with a 20-11 defeat at Sandal.

It was always going to be a difficult start to 2013 for the men from Marl Pits with Sandal hot on the heels of Harrogate for a play-off place in National League Two – the position Dale occupied last season.

But Dale, rocked by injuries throughout the current campaign have never looked like hitting the heights of last term and will now be looking for a top half of the table finish.

Dale started brightly enough at Sandal and two early penalties from Steve Nutt gave them a 6-0 lead.

But Sandal were soon in the lead with a converted try and stretched it to 13-6 with two further penalties.

A second Sandal try, also converted made it 20-6 before Dale hit back with a try of their own.

Colne and Nelson won the East Lancs derby in North Lancs One after coming away from Clitheroe with an impressive 27-17 victory.

The All Blacks are now up to sixth in the table, six points behind Pendle Panthers whose promotion hopes were hit following a heavy 32-5 defeat at second placed Ashton-Under-Lyne.

Panthers remain fourth.

But Chorley got their 2013 off to a winning start thanks to a 20-8 win against Crosby St Mary’s.