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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