North Wales Crusaders U13s have made a flying start to their 2019 season in the North West Counties League Division Four.
The youngsters have won two out of two, sitting at the top of the table with 98 points scored and none conceded.
Crusaders travelled to St Helens to take on Pilkington Recs in their opener and came away with a comprehensive 68-0 win.
They dominated the game from the kick-off until the final minute, putting in some punishing tackles and hard, direct carries that the Recs had no answer to.
North Wales stuck to their game plan throughout and played some lovely rugby league, but it was their ruthless defence and solid tackling that was the real eye-catcher.
Tries came from Iwan Hughes (four), Joe Jones (three), Will Butress (two), Charlie Jones, Cameron Long, Rhys Owens and Greg Thomas. Iwan Hughes kicked eight conversions.
On Sunday, March 3, Crusaders made their 2019 home debut against Salford City Roosters and a much tougher encounter was expected.
The Roosters had certainly turned up to play and the opening exchanges were tough and even.
However, Crusaders gradually began to take control of the game through their fearsome tackling in defence and relentless directness in attack.
Tries from captain Joe Jones, loose-forward Charlie Jones and fullback Iwan Hughes, as well as a Hughes conversion, put the home side 14-0 up at half-time.
Crusaders were in control of the game for most of the second-half but, to their credit, the Roosters battled hard to try and dent the home side’s defence.
Tries from second-row Will Butress and wing Khaya Mumvura, following a special Charlie Jones offload, put North Wales well ahead.
Once again, it was the defensive side of their game that was the foundation for this Crusaders victory.
Strong, aggressive tackling, with a real desire to defend their tryline and defend any errors, is now becoming a trademark of this young and exciting team.
Crusaders finished the game off with a second try for Iwan Hughes to make it a well-deserved 30-0 win.
Coaches Allen Jones and Rikki Davies are thrilled with the start the team has made.
“The boys have started this season where they left off at the end of last season,” Jones said.
“They have worked really hard in the off-season and we are reaping the benefits of this hard work in the performances we’ve seen so far.
“There’s so much more to come from this squad once they get some more game experience.
“They are enjoying their rugby league and playing with smiles on their faces.”
Next up for Crusaders is another home game on March 17, when Salford City Roosters will once again be the visitors, but it will be in the Division Four Cup this time.