North Wales Crusaders shut out Barrow Raiders in the second-half to inflict only a second League 1 defeat on the Cumbrian side and move up to third in the table.

After Crusaders had raced into an early lead, Barrow hit back to hold the advantage by half-time, but the Colwyn Bay outfit produced a faultless second-half display.

They managed the match superbly to race clear and secure the win late on, limiting a Raiders side that has racked up plenty of points in 2021 to very little field position.

With their biggest crowd at Stadiwm ZipWorld to date, North Wales now have some real momentum and that will no doubt go down as one of the club’s most impressive wins to date. 

Mark Tyson thought he was over in the left corner for Barrow early in the first-half, but play was pulled back for a forward pass. 

And it was Crusaders who took the lead when they assaulted the left flank, Jordy Gibson dummied his way through the line and had Alex Eckley in support to finish off the move.

With a penalty near the posts, North Wales opted to kick for goal and Tommy Johnson extended their advantage to 8-0.

After a spell of sustained pressure on Crusaders’ line, Barrow pulled one back as Tyson squeezed over in the left corner.

And the visitors went ahead shortly before half-time, with Callum Bustin crashing over from close range. 

North Wales attempted to kick a goal and draw themselves level on the stroke of half-time, but Johnson dragged his effort wide. 

After Tee Ritson’s score in the right corner early in the second-half was chalked off for a forward pass, Crusaders nudged themselves back ahead as Johnson got on the end of Gibson’s pin-point grubber kick.

Rob Massam then showed unbelievable strength to break down the left flank and knock off numerous attempted tackles on the way to the line. 

Another from Massam, exploiting more space down the left, took Crusaders’ lead to 22-10 as he picked up his 17th effort of the League 1 campaign. 

And a drop-goal from Bradford Bulls loanee Matty Race wrapped up the match as North Wales secured a memorable win and more valuable points. 

  1 Tommy Johnson  
15 Pat Ah Van
  3 Dave Eccleston 
  4 Matt Reid
  5 Rob Massam 
  6 Matty Race
  7 Jordy Gibson
10 Callum Hazzard
  9 Karl Ashall
  8 Chris Barratt
11 Ben Morris
12 Gav Rodden
13 Alex Eckley
14 Andy Ball
16 Ethan Kelly
18 Jack Houghton
17 Brad Brennan

Tries: Eckley (9), Johnson (57), Massam (65, 73)
Goals: Johnson 3/6
Field goal: Race (77)

 1 Luke Cresswell
  2 Tee Ritson
32 Hakim Miloudi
  4 Mark Tyson
  5 Shane Toal
  6 Jamie Dallimore
14 Jake Carter
17 Adam Walne
  9 Nathan Mossop
10 Carl Forster 
31 Charlie Emslie
12 Jarrad Stack
23 Jake Emmitt
  7 Ryan Johnston
15 Dan Toal
25 Callum Bustin
  8 Ryan Duffy

Tries: Tyson (25), Bustin (34)
Goals: Dallimore ½

Referee: Mike Smaill
HT: 8-10
Attendance: 727
Crusaders MOTM: Alex Eckley – you couldn’t fault anyone in North Wales’ side, but Alex Eckley gets the nod for playing big minutes and causing Barrow problems throughout. 

NWC Rugby League