Crook's tactical kicking was sublime at times, his guile near the line and his exemplary place kicking making him the stand out player. Although Town scored seven tries to Rochdale's five it was Crook's tally of nine from nine which made the difference.
Rochdale coach John Stankevitch said: "We won it from the last play of the game but I think overall we deserved it. Some of our defensive work to hold the lead in the second half was outstanding."
To be fair, on the balance of the game, Town would have got out of jail if that had been the winning score because Rochdale were the better side for long periods.
Crook's penalty with the last kick of the half gave the Hornets a handy 16 26 lead at the break.
Some outstanding defence ensured they held the lead until four minutes from time when it looked as though they had fallen to a sucker punch when Neil Frazer sprinted in at the corner.
Steve McDermott also did well again on his appearance from the bench and he grabbed Rochdale's next try.
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The game seemed there for Rochdale to win or should that be to lose. For on 69 minutes Town half back Scott Kaighan raced over unopposed. Holt's conversion made it 26 30 and set up a tense last 10 minutes.
Town took the lead after six minutes when Aaron Low was ushered into the corner by centre John Patrick.
Then for the first time in the game a side opened up more than a four point lead. Big prop John Cookson managed to swivel and turn in a tackle to get over the line and Crook converted.
Two minutes later Rochdale took the lead when Crook finished off from close range after a series of drives had been held up by desperate Town defence. Crook converted for a 4 6 lead.
Crook's conversion and the hooter soon afterwards then signalled joyous celebrations.
Back came Workington and when Marc Jackson ploughed through towards the visitors' line he had Darren King in support. The loose forward took the pass to dive over and Holt added the extras.
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That sparked a period of intense Workington pressure when Rochdale were inspired in defence.
They reckoned without never say die Hornets who used the ball accurately and quickly to get English over for the winner in the corner.
Crook thought he'd settled Rochdale's nerves with another penalty but Town came storming back with a well taken try in the corner by Low. Crucially Holt's touchline conversion attempt to level the score was just wide.
But then on 76 minutes when Frazer had the space out wide to sprint 10 metres for another Town try to put the home side in front, they appeared to have done enough.
Every man played his part, especially up front but the storm appeared to have been weathered as Rochdale increased their lead with two Crook penalties.
Smarter in attack, more rugged and determined in defence, and with the game's outstanding player in Paul Crook, Rochdale looked better equipped to go on and make a strong Championship One challenge.
After the break Patrick used his strength to charge over Buy Nike Cortez Trainers
Hornets scored the best try of the game on 15 minutes as Craig Ashall and Steve Roper swapped passes before full back Scott Yates raced through from 30 metres to score under the posts. Crook converted.
after Town moved the ball Nike Classic Cortez Leather Sneaker - Womens wide on last tackle.
Town responded well with John Patrick pulling one back. Holt converted.
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