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Preview: Whitehaven v North Wales Crusaders

By | News

North Wales Crusaders travel to Whitehaven tomorrow as they return to League 1 action.

Below is all of the information you need to know ahead of the clash.

UP FRONT

Crusaders will be looking to respond to their 48-12 defeat at home to Newcastle Thunder last time out.

Thunder proved too strong for Anthony Murray’s men on the day, with fullback Lewis Young running riot throughout.

Whitehaven, meanwhile, fell to only their second defeat of the League 1 campaign last weekend, losing 26-20 at Newcastle.

After leading 8-6 at the break, Haven extended their advantage to 14-6 early in the second-half.

Newcastle took control, though, and Young’s try on the full-time hooter wrapped up the points for the North-West side.

LAST HEAD-TO-HEAD

The two sides met at Queensway Stadium just over a month ago, with Whitehaven running out 28-14 winners.

After Ben Stead had kicked an early penalty goal for Crusaders, Haven grew into the game and established a 16-2 advantage by half-time.

Although a try from Callum Phillips shortly after the break nudged the Cumbrians further ahead, Kenny Baker and Rob Massam tries within the space of three minutes pulled North Wales back into the game.

The hosts had opportunities to claw the deficit back further, but a late try sealed what was a deserved victory for Whitehaven on the balance of play.

PRE-MATCH COMMENTS

Read Crusaders head coach Anthony Murray’s thoughts ahead of the match.

New signing Dec Gregory also spoke to northwalescrusaders.com, explaining why he joined the club.

THE SQUAD

Murray has named his 19-man squad for the trip to Cumbria.

FAN INFORMATION

Crusaders Supporters Club are running a coach to the match, leaving The Turf at 9.30am and priced at £22 per person.

Crusaders’ 19-man squad for Whitehaven clash

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North Wales Crusaders head coach Anthony Murray has named his 19-man squad for Sunday’s trip to Whitehaven.

Joe Ryan, who joined Crusaders from Rochdale a couple of weeks ago alongside Dec Gregory, is included in the squad and could feature.

Jack Houghton has been unavailable for selection for a number of weeks, but he comes back into contention.

Crusaders’ 19-man squad is as follows: Stephen Wild, Matt Reid, Lewis Fairhurst, Kenny Baker, Jack Houghton, Kenny Hughes, Karl Ashall, Steve Roper, Rob Massam, Earl Hurst, Dante Morley-Samuels, Ryan Smith, Dec Gregory, Joe Ryan, Jonny Walker, Brad Brennan, Ben Stead, Callum Hazzard, Warren Thompson.

Crusaders’ squad for Coventry trip

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North Wales Crusaders head coach Anthony Murray has named his squad for Sunday’s trip to Coventry Bears.

Jonny Walker and Stephen Wild were both unavailable for last weekend’s defeat to Whitehaven, but they are back in contention for the clash with Coventry.

Widnes Vikings’ Liam Walsh is included in the 19, while Ryan Smith will be pushing for his first appearance for a couple of weeks.

Crusaders’ squad: Karl Ashall, Simon Atherton, Kenny Baker, Brad Brennan, Dave Eccleston, Lewis Fairhurst, Callum Hazzard, Kenny Hughes, Earl Hurst, Rob Massam, Matt Reid, Steve Roper, Ryan Smith, Ben Stead, Warren Thompson, Jonny Walker, Liam Walsh, Stephen Wild.

Crusaders U13s: the season so far

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North Wales Crusaders U13s have made a terrific start to their 2019 season as they sit top of the North West Counties Division Four, have a cup semi-final to look forward to and are unbeaten in all competitions.

Since they were formed last summer, the team have played 15 matches and only been beaten once, which isn’t a bad return for relatively new team.

Coaches Allen Jones and Rikki Davies, however, are far from complacent and keen to make sure that the team continue to work hard, learn and improve in all aspects of the game.

Having played a number of friendly matches when they formed last summer, Jones and Davies made the bold decision to formally join the North West Counties U13s-U15s division ahead of the 2019 campaign.

Jones said: “We knew that, for the team to develop and improve, we needed to be playing regular fixtures against established clubs from the rugby league heartlands.

“We explained this to the parents and they were really supportive.

“I think they knew we had a special group of players and were as eager as Rikki and myself to take on the challenge.”

The team trained through the winter and were well-prepared for 2019.

“We managed to retain the bulk of the 2018 squad,” Jones added.

“We have also added three more quality players and now have a squad of 20 registered players, which is pretty much ideal.

“But we do want to grow the squad and we feel we are a very welcoming group, always giving a friendly welcome to any new players regardless of their rugby playing experience.”

A lot of the team’s success is down to the hard work put in by everyone in the training sessions.

“We are lucky to have a group of supportive parents,” Davies said.

“Some travel quite a way to training each week and then do the same for away games, but the parents have been superb and we really appreciate all they do to support the team.”

Jones and Davies have a clear vision about what the future holds for the team.

“We want to make each and every player the very best they can possibly be both as rugby league players and young people,” Jones said.

“We set high standards of performance, which the boys are reaching at the moment.

“We will continue to improve and develop the team both as individuals and as a collective.

“We don’t give the boys a script to play from as we coach them to be tough, skilful, make their own decisions on the pitch and play heads up rugby league.

“The boys are a real joy to coach and Rikki and I are fortunate to have such a talented group to work with.”

The U13s are at home this Sunday (May 26), taking on South Trafford Raiders at Queensway Stadium from 10.30am in a friendly fixture.

Preview: North Wales Crusaders v Whitehaven

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North Wales Crusaders host Whitehaven at Queensway Stadium in League 1.

Below is all the information you need ahead of the clash.

FORMBOOK

After picking up back-to-back wins against West Wales Raiders and Doncaster, North Wales fell to an agonising 19-18 defeat at London Skolars last time out.

Despite dominating for the vast majority of the match, Crusaders left empty-handed as the Skolars scored a try and drop-goal in the last five minutes.

Whitehaven, meanwhile, will be looking to respond to their 48-12 defeat at Oldham in the 1895 Cup, a competition North Wales opted not to be involved with this season.

That was only Haven’s second defeat in eight matches across all competitions as they currently sit second in League 1.

LAST HEAD-TO-HEAD

Josh Eaves’ second-half try for Whitehaven proved to be the difference as they won 22-14 at Crusaders.

After Jordan Burns had given the visitors an early lead, North Wales hit back through an Olly Ashall-Bott try and two Danny Walker goals, nudging themselves 8-6 ahead.

But Dion Aiye crossed shortly before half-time to make sure Haven had the advantage.

The game continued to go back and to but, in the end, the Cumbrians proved too strong and the aforementioned Eaves try gave them an eight-point lead that they never relinquished.

COACH COMMENTS

Read Crusaders head coach Anthony Murray’s pre-match thoughts.

THE SQUAD

Murray has named his squad for the clash with Whitehaven.

FAN INFORMATION

Entry is priced at £12 for adults, £10 for concessions and £2 for U16s.

The official matchday programme will be on sale around the stadium for just £2, including a big interview with Rob Massam, Warren Thompson’s Best XVII and much more.

Crusaders’ squad for Whitehaven clash

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North Wales Crusaders head coach Anthony Murray has named his squad for tomorrow’s League 1 match with Whitehaven.

Ryan Smith returns to the squad and Dante Morley-Samuels, who picked up an injury in the win at Doncaster a couple of weeks ago, is back in the frame.

Jacob Thomas, on loan from Dewsbury Rams, is named in the 19 for the second week running and will be hoping to make his debut.

Jack Houghton, Alex Thompson and Alex Eckley are currently carrying injuries, while Jonny Walker, Stephen Wild and Gavin Conroy are all unavailable.

Crusaders’ squad: Karl Ashall, Simon Atherton, Kenny Baker, Brad Brennan, Dave Eccleston, Lewis Fairhurst, Callum Hazzard, Kenny Hughes, Earl Hurst, Rob Massam, Dante Morley-Samuels, Matt Reid, Steve Roper, Ryan Smith, Ben Stead, Jacob Thomas, Warren Thompson, Chris Worrall.

Tickets for Crusaders’ clash with Whitehaven are priced at £12 for adults, £10 for concessions and £2 for U16s.

Anthony Murray: “We need to be a lot smarter than we have been”

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North Wales Crusaders head coach Anthony Murray is hoping to get back to winning ways when his side host Whitehaven on Sunday (2.30pm kick-off).

Murray’s men almost made it three wins on the bounce in League 1, but London Skolars scored a try and drop-goal in the last five minutes to condemn Crusaders to defeat.

North Wales had beat the Raiders in the Welsh derby and won at Doncaster before that.

“When you look back at the start of the season, we’ve lost three games against Oldham, Keighley and London where we’ve been leading right up until the final minutes,” Murray said.

“We need to be a lot smarter than we have been.

“I can’t fault our general performance and the commitment from the lads, but our game management needs to improve when we’re in those situations.

“It’s a really close league this season and a couple of wins can take you right up the table.

“We’re only two points off sixth and four points off fourth.”

On the challenge Whitehaven will bring, Murray said: “We know it’s going to be a really tough game, but we need to get back to winning ways and start to climb the table.

“Most games have been close so far this season no matter where teams are in the table.

“When you play the side at the top of the table, you need to prepare exactly the same way you would against a side towards the bottom of the table.

“They were beaten in their last match so I’ve no doubt they’ll want to put a few things right and respond to that defeat.

“They’ll want to keep hold of that top spot.”

Tickets for Crusaders’ clash with Whitehaven are priced at £12 for adults, £10 for concessions and £2 for U16s.

Flashback: Crusaders’ clashes with Whitehaven

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As North Wales Crusaders host Whitehaven at Queensway Stadium on Sunday, we take a look at some of the most memorable clashes between the two sides over the years.

Crusaders and Haven have come head-to-head on seven occasions since North Wales formed back in 2012.

Whitehaven 0-34 North Wales Crusaders – April 2014 – Championship

Clive Griffiths’ Crusaders stunned Whitehaven as they won 34-0 in Cumbria, picking up their second win of the Championship season.

Rob Massam’s hat-trick paved the way for the victory, while Stuart Reardon, Jamie Durbin and Adam Clay also got themselves on the scoresheet.

It was the zero points conceded that was arguably more impressive than the 34 points North Wales had put on Haven.

North Wales Crusaders 22-21 Whitehaven – June 2014 – Championship

Crusaders completed the double over Whitehaven in the Championship, edging a narrow contest 22-21.

In Griffiths’ final game in charge of North Wales before Anthony Murray took over the reigns, Gary Middlehurst grabbed the winning try three minutes from time.

The drama wasn’t finished there, though, as Jessie Joe Pay crossed in the corner on the full-time hooter, only for Tom Carr to miss what would’ve been the match-winning conversion.

North Wales Crusaders 12-12 Whitehaven – July 2017 – League 1

The two sides played out an entertaining 12-12 draw at Queensway Stadium, with the majority of the action coming in the second-half.

After Haven had led 8-0 at half-time thanks to two tries from Jordan Burns, Crusaders scored twice in nine minutes through Joe Bate and Taylor Prell to go 10-8 ahead.

But the visitors soon responded and nudged themselves in front again as Dion Aiye crossed.

When Crusaders were given a penalty in the closing stages, however, they opted to kick for goal and Tommy Johnson earned the hosts a point.

Whitehaven 22-25 North Wales Crusaders – May 2018 – League 1

Crusaders held off a late Whitehaven comeback to secure an important victory at the Recreation Ground.

The visitors went into the final eight minutes 25-12 ahead, but Haven pushed them all the way as Dave Thompson and Dan Abram crossed late on.

It made it three wins out of four for Crusaders since Anthony Murray had returned to the club for his second spell.

Get behind Crusaders this Sunday as they take on Whitehaven in League 1. Tickets are priced at £12 for adults, £10 for concessions and £2 for U16s. Look out for flyers around town with some special offers for the match.

 

Preview: London Skolars v North Wales Crusaders

By | News

North Wales Crusaders travel to London Skolars tomorrow (May 11) as the League 1 season resumes.

Below is all the information you need ahead of the clash.

FORMBOOK

Crusaders will be aiming to make it three wins on the bounce at London.

Following the 70-8 success over the Raiders in the Welsh derby, North Wales went up to Doncaster and recorded a 12-10 win.

But the Skolars are also in fine form, sitting third in the table at present having won three games on the trot.

Following an impressive 34-32 victory at home to Workington Town, they picked up a win on the road at Coventry Bears.

However, they saved the best for their last outing, beating then top-of-the-table Hunslet 42-26 on their own turf.

LAST HEAD-TO-HEAD 

When Crusaders travelled to London earlier this year in the Challenge Cup, they ended up 31-18 victors.

After the Welsh side had led 24-6 early in the second-half, the Skolars hit back and came within six points.

However, a late Steve Roper drop-goal and try from Simon Atherton secured the win.

PRE-MATCH COMMENTS

Read Crusaders head coach Anthony Murray’s thoughts ahead of the clash.

THE SQUAD

Murray has named his 19-man squad for the trip down south.

FAN INFORMATION

Tickets for the match can be bought online.