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North Wales Crusaders got back to winning ways in League 1 with a dogged 34-18 victory over Coventry Bears.

Anthony Murray’s men led for the vast majority of the game, but they were never out of reach as Coventry continually pegged them back.

However, Crusaders crossed twice in the final five minutes to wrap up a deserved victory, which has taken them up to eighth in the table and only three points behind Newcastle Thunder in fifth.

The Bears opened the scoring early on as North Wales coughed up possession in good ball area, the hosts hacked the ball upfield and Reece Rance had the pace to break clear, finishing in the right corner.

They were then reduced to 12 men for ten minutes as Kameron Pearce-Paul was sent to the sin-bin for a trip.

Rob Massam thought he was over down the left flank, but his effort was chalked off for a forward pass in the build-up.

Crusaders did manage to hit back, though, as they put on a nice left to right shift for Dave Eccleston to cut inside and touch down.

The visitors took the lead when Steve Roper drilled in a grubber kick, it bounced off a Coventry man and captain Kenny Baker gathered to dive over next to the sticks.

In the closing stages of the first-half, North Wales had a man sent to the sin-bin as Kenny Hughes was penalised for a tackle off the ball.

Crusaders made the perfect start to the second-half, with Massam cutting inside from the left wing to force his way over.

However, the Bears’ response was swift as Lewis Taylor crashed over down the right following a good run from Rance.

But the away side re-established their ten-point advantage when Massam profited from some good play to keep the ball alive, grabbing his second of the afternoon.

After a couple of repeat sets near Crusaders’ line, though, Coventry reduced the deficit to four points once again, with Elliot Hall finding his way over down the left.

As the game entered the final ten minutes, Murray’s side closed the match out well and scored two quick-fire tries to confirm the win.

Warren Thompson collected a pass near the line to bulldoze his way over next to the posts.

Simon Atherton then broke down the right, dummied his way past a tackle and handed inside to Karl Ashall, who had a walk-in effort under the sticks.

1 Elliot Hall
2 Hayden Freeman
3 Kadeem Williams
4 Kameron Pearce-Paul
5 Reece Rance
6 Brad Sheridan
7 Nick Newman
8 Peter Ryan
9 Nathan Conroy
10 Lewis Taylor
11 Jacob Jones
12 Kieran Sheratt
13 Chris Barratt
14 Sam Davis
15 Harry Kaufman
16 Will Tully
21 Martyn Reilly

Tries: Rance (5), Taylor (49), Hall (60)
Goals: Newman 3/3

1 Lewis Fairhurst
2 Dave Eccleston
3 Simon Atherton
4 Earl Hurst
5 Rob Massam
6 Steve Roper
7 Ryan Smith
8 Callum Hazzard
9 Karl Ashall
10 Warren Thompson
11 Matt Reid
12 Stephen Wild
13 Kenny Baker
14 Kenny Hughes
15 Brad Brennan
16 Jonny Walker
17 Liam Walsh

Tries: Eccleston (22), Baker (32), Massam (42, 54), Thompson (75), Ashall (78)
Goals: Baker 2/3, Fairhurst 3/3

Referee: Liam Staveley
HT: 6-12
Attendance: 395