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Report: North Wales Crusaders 36-18 London Skolars

By | Match Report

North Wales Crusaders gave a number of club stalwarts the perfect send-off as they came from 12-0 down to get past London Skolars and pip them to seventh place in League 1.

Jonny Walker – one of just two players remaining from the club’s debut season back in 2012 – Alex Thompson and Stephen Wild have all played a big part in Crusaders’ history and hung up their boots following the clash with Skolars.

It looked like their farewell game wasn’t going to be a happy one as London raced into a 12-0 lead in the early stages.

However, Crusaders clawed their way back at the end of the first-half and dominated the second to secure what turned out to be a comfortable victory in the end.

London took the lead when a kick over the top of Crusaders’ defence took an awkward bounce and Liam Scott collected to touch down next to the posts.

After Rob Massam had an effort disallowed in the corner as the referee called a forward pass in the build-up, the visitors extended their advantage through Jordan Williams, who broke a tackle down the left flank to force his way over.

With half-time approaching, however, North Wales pulled one back as Massam collected a Skolars error and knocked off a couple of attempted tackles on his way to the line.

Crusaders drew level shortly before the break when Wild gathered a nice offload from Joe Ryan near the line to dot the ball down.

The home side carried on in the second-half as they’d finished the first, with Massam showing great strength to grab his second in the left corner.

As Crusaders looked to find their way over for another, though, Omari Caro intercepted a short-side play to race the length of the field and finish out wide.

Trailing by two points, North Wales opted to kick for goal when they were awarded a penalty for interference and Ben Stead added the two points to draw his side level.

The hosts had further joy down the left and went ahead again as Atherton, who is having some time away from rugby league, barged his way over.

With 11 minutes left on the clock, Wild put the result beyond doubt when he broke a tackle down the right and fended off a number of attempted tackles on his way to the line.

Atherton then hit a great line, offloaded to Dave Eccleston and, despite Crusaders’ stand-in fullback having a walk-in effort, he spotted Walker nearby, handing on to the prop forward to touch down for a try as he brought his 168-game North Wales career to an end.

There was still time for another try, however, when Alex Eckley broke upfield, passed to Wild and had the ball returned to him to cross next to the sticks, rounding off a good afternoon’s work for the Welshmen.

1 Dave Eccleston
3 Dante Morley-Samuels
2 Earl Hurst
4 Alex Thompson
5 Rob Massam
6 Karl Ashall
7 Ben Stead
17 Jonny Walker
9 Dec Gregory
10 Warren Thompson
11 Matt Reid
12 Simon Atherton
13 Stephen Wild
21 Alex Eckley
8 James Tilley
18 Joe Ryan
16 Brad Brennan

Tries: Massam (31, 44), Wild (37, 69), Atherton (66), Walker (79), Eckley (80)
Goals: Stead 3/6, Walker 0/1, Wild 1/1

2 Iliess Macani
1 Kayne Chan-Kitchener
3 Omari Caro
4 Jordan Williams
5 Jerome Yates
14 Richard Wilkinson
19 Jy-mel Coleman
10 Judd Greenhalgh
9 Neil Thorman
8 Michael Sykes
11 Jonathan Magrin
12 Michael Greenhalgh
13 Liam Scott
15 Matthew Davies
7 Mike Bishay
18 Eddie Mbaraga
17 Tommy Chipchase

Tries: Scott (12), Williams (25), Caro (51)
Goals: Thorman 3/3

Referee: Kevin Moore
HT: 12-12
Attendance: 421
MOTM: Stephen Wild – his final performance epitomised what he’s done so well throughout his career, showing great leadership and doing all of the small things that can often go unnoticed.

Report: Hunslet 42-18 North Wales Crusaders

By | Match Report

North Wales Crusaders face an uphill battle to make the League 1 play-offs after losing 42-18 at promotion-chasing Hunslet.

Despite falling 18-0 behind inside the opening 22 minutes, Crusaders responded well and reduced the deficit to 18-12.

But, as they looked to be getting a real foothold in the game, a Hunslet try on the stroke of half-time proved to be a hammer blow.

Hunslet extended their lead early in the second-half and, despite having the field position to try and get themselves back in the game, North Wales never recovered and were ultimately second best on the day.

The home side took the lead when, after a penalty had taken them deep into Crusaders’ half, Josh Tonks broke down the left to finish in the corner.

It didn’t take long for them to build on their advantage as Duane Straughier was put through the line at close range to cross untouched.

After Joe Sanderson kicked a superb 40-20, putting them right on North Wales’ line, they added their third, with Jon-Luke Kirby dotting the ball down.

However, Crusaders responded well and scored two quick-fire tries.

Dec Gregory broke through the line on halfway, created space and dummied his way past the remaining Hunslet players to cross.

Simon Atherton then took advantage of some good expansive play from Callum Hazzard and Steve Roper to dive over in the right corner.

Crusaders had got themselves back in the game and were in the ascendency, but a try for the Yorkshire side on the half-time hooter knocked the stuffing out of the Welshmen.

Charlie Martin ran on to a short ball near the line to touch down next to the sticks.

Following the restart, Hunslet picked up where they left off as Sanderson put Jimmy Watson over underneath the posts.

And Watson added his second when he broke through the line and had the pace to round Lewis Fairhurst at fullback.

With a couple of minutes remaining, Jordan Andrade managed to add Hunslet’s seventh of the day as he squeezed his way over, despite the attention of a couple of Crusaders defenders.

But it was North Wales who had the last word when Stephen Wild put Jonny Walker over.

1 Timmy Watson
5 Dale Bloomfield
23 Nathan Chapell
30 Charlie Martin
3 Tom Ashton
6 Joe Sanderson
7 Simon Brown
16 Zach Braham
9 Jack Lee
31 Jon-Luke Kirby
11 Josh Tonks
12 Duane Straughier
20 Vila Halafihi
32 Jordan Andrade
19 Mike Haley
17 Daniel Hawksworth
14 Ryan Wright
Tries: Tonks (8), Straughier (13), Kirby (22), Martin (40), Watson (50, 62), Andrade (77)
Goals: Sanderson (7/7)

1 Lewis Fairhurst
2 Dave Eccleston
3 Simon Atherton
4 Jordan Penny
5 Rob Massam
6 Steve Roper
7 Ben Stead
17 Jonny Walker
9 Karl Ashall
8 Brad Brennan
11 Matt Reid
12 Stephen Wild
13 Alex Eckley
14 Dec Gregory
10 Warren Thompson
25 Callum Hazzard
24 Joe Ryan
Tries: Gregory (28), Atherton (31), Walker (80)
Goals: Stead (3/3)

Referee: Kevin Moore
HT: 24-12
Attendance: 488

Report: North Wales Crusaders 0-30 Doncaster

By | Match Report

North Wales Crusaders’ play-off challenge was dealt a blow as they lost 30-0 at home to Doncaster.

Although Crusaders had as much ball as Doncaster for large parts of the match, they couldn’t get past a water-tight defensive line.

The Dons defended astutely when required, forcing North Wales into touch on a number of occasions, and three tries in the final 20 minutes took the match away from Crusaders, securing an important win for the visitors.

Doncaster opened the scoring when they broke down the left and an inside pass put Matty Chrimes over.

They built on their lead as Crusaders coughed up possession deep in their own half, leaving Kyle Kesik to pick up the pieces and cross underneath the posts.

When the visitors were awarded a penalty, they opted to kick for goal and Matty Beharrell was successful with the boot, taking their advantage to 14-0 at half-time.

There were no further scores for the first 20 minutes of the second-half and, despite applying plenty more pressure on Doncaster’s line, North Wales couldn’t find a way through.

The away side made their hosts pay for the missed opportunities as Jason Tali forced his way over in the left corner.

The Dons added a fourth when Beharrell lofted a high kick to the corner on the last tackle and a tip back put Connor Bower over.

And the Yorkshiremen rapped matters up late on as Connor Scott made a strong run straight from a tap penalty, bulldozing his way over the line down the left flank.

1 Lewis Fairhurst
2 Dave Eccleston
3 Matt Reid
4 Simon Atherton
5 Dante Morley-Samuels
6 Steve Roper
7 Ben Stead
10 Warren Thompson
9 Karl Ashall
8 Brad Brennan
11 Alex Eckley
12 Kenny Baker
13 Stephen Wild
14 Dec Gregory
15 Ryan Smith
20 Alex Thompson
17 Jonny Walker

1 Connor Wynne
5 Sam Doherty
3 Connor Bower
4 Jason Tali
19 Matty Chrimes
33 Rangi Chase
7 Matty Beharrell
10 Ryan Boyle
9 Kyle Kesik
14 Connor Scott
26 Evan Hodgson
24 Danny Washbrook
13 Jordie Hedges
27 Jack Brown
2 Richard Owen
22 Brad Foster
29 Jez Litten

Tries: Chrimes (14), Kesik (20), Tali (60), Bower (73), Scott (79)
Goals: Beharrell (4/5), Litten (1/1)

Referee: Michael Mannifield
HT: 0-14
Attendance: 372