North Wales Crusaders U13s progressed to the semi-final of their division’s cup competition with another high-quality performance against Warrington-based Woolston Rovers.
Despite making a slow start to the game, the youngsters gradually got to grips with their visitors and played some enterprising rugby league to build a solid 22-4 half-time lead.
They pinned the Rovers back in their own half for most of the opening 40 minutes, with the forward pack dominating and giving the halfbacks a platform to launch attack after attack on the Woolston try line.
The visitors battled hard to stay in the game, but they couldn’t live with the ferocity of Crusaders’ attack and the ever-solid tackling.
Greg Thomas and Will Buttress, in particular, were causing mayhem for the Woolston attack with their huge hits.
They were well-supported by Charlie Jones, Joe Jones and Tom Himsworth.
The second-half saw the home side heavily penalised by the referee, giving Woolston a lot of possession and field position, but the defence held firm with every player committed to holding their opponents out.
Crusaders were devastating when they did get some ball, though, launching clever attacks from deep that resulted in some exciting scores.
Buttress picked up a loose ball on his own try line and sprinted the length of the field for a superb solo try.
Thomas then went on a rampaging 80-metre run, before being pulled down just short of the line.
From the resulting quick play-the-ball, however, prop Himsworth had bust a gut to get in support to smash his way over for a great try.
Iwan Hughes and Peter Bennington then combined to put on a great old school rugby league run around move, allowing Hughes to complete his hat-trick of scores on the day.
Crusaders played some lovely, free-flowing stuff at times and, with a bit more composure, could have scored even more points.
But this shouldn’t detract from yet another fine performance from a group of players still learning the game, while competing against teams with vastly more experience.
Coach Allen Jones said: “We’re delighted with the progress being made by the team and the way they’re now developing their own style of play, which is tough, physical and enterprising.”
Next up for Crusaders U13s is an away trip to Haydock Warriors in pursuit of two more valuable league points.