North Wales Crusaders U13s deservedly edged high-flying Thatto Heath Crusaders 30-18 in a thoroughly-absorbing and high-quality contest at Queensway Stadium.
Thatto had been in cracking form of late, while Crusaders had been playing reasonably well without getting the results.
The away side started the game quickly and were 12-0 up inside the first ten minutes.
However, Crusaders’ tricky games of late had seen them build up some real mental toughness and this came to the fore as they got back into the match with two quick-fire scores of their own, reducing the arrears to 12-8.
The home team were beginning to get the upper hand and put their visitors under some real pressure both with and without the ball.
Right on half-time, though, Thatto were awarded a penalty and opted to take two points to give them a 14-8 advantage at the break.
Despite this, it was the home side who looked the happier at the interval.
The second-half saw North Wales really get stuck into Thatto with strong, direct attacks and some tough defence.
The home side were well on top at this stage and Thatto had to work overtime in defence to hold out a Crusaders side full of confidence and playing some lovely rugby league.
North Wales’ middles were terrific all game with punishing carries and tough defence and the edges were much improved, shutting down any space and joining in some strong, varied and sustained attacks.
The home side built up a 30-14 advantage and, despite a late Thatto try, they ran out deserved victors in a tremendous game, which was played hard and tough but in great spirit.
U13s head coach Allen Jones was delighted with how his side bounced back after a June packed full of tough fixtures.
“This was without doubt our best performance of the season,” he said.
“We showed some real resilience to come back from 12 points down against a team who were bang in form and not only catch them, but also pull away quite emphatically.
“The boys deserve a lot of credit for not only this performance, but also the way they have played and stuck at it in what has been a tough month for them.”
This was a complete performance from all 17 players, with three or four exceptional individual efforts.