NORTH WALES CRUSADERS were left disappointed as they suffered a 36-26 defeat at the hands of Hunslet RLFC.
Despite their best efforts to stage a come back late in the second-half, the Crusaders had left themselves with too much to do against a strong Hunslet side who executed their game plan and made good ground with the ball.
Hunslet started the game quickly as they opened the scoring inside the first two minutes. A nice run sent Jimmy Watson through a gap in Crusaders’ defence and he made no mistake in grounding the ball.
The visitors then had a chance to respond as Alex Davidson caught the Hunslet defence out with an offload in the tackle which sent Tommy Johnson over the line. However, he was held up by the scrambling Hunslet defence to keep the score at 4-0 in their favour.
Moments later the hosts extended their lead with two quick-fire tries. The first came through Lewis Reed who darted over from close range, and he was quickly followed over the line by Jake Normington, who barged his way through the Crusaders’ defence to score. Taking the home sides advantage up to 14 points.
With 17 minutes on the clock the visitors opened their account. Dale Bloomfield gathered a grubber kick from Hunslet and broke before finding Ryan Smith in support who finished the move in the corner.
The Crusaders continued to pile on the pressure as Alex Davidson went close to scoring, only to knock-on before the line.
However, their efforts eventually paid off as Danny Price got under a high kick into the corner from Jack Hansen and scored to bring the gap down to just four points.
The Crusaders then took the lead for the first time in the match as Ryan Millington made use of Hunslet conceding a penalty in front of the posts as he tapped the ball and darted over to score.
However, the home side responded almost immediately as Cameron Leeming showed strength to overcome the Crusaders’ efforts in defence and score.
George Flanagan followed Leeming over the whitewash in a similar manner, sending the teams into the break with the home side leading 24-16.
Minutes into the second half the Crusaders reduced the deficit to four points. Ryan Smith broke on the last tackle and weaved his way through the Hunslet defence before he found Earl Hurst in support who scored in the corner.
Hunslet’s four point lead didn’t last long as the home side responded through Flanagan who grabbed his second of the afternoon after running though the Crusaders’ defence.
Another nice move from the home side followed as slick passing sent Danny Ansell through to score, making it 36-20.
A tough period of the game followed with both sides putting some big hits in. With the next score vital, the Crusaders had a fantastic chance as Danny Price chipped the ball over the Hunslet defence and gathered it. However, he couldn’t find Smith who was clear and possession changed hands.
The Crusaders didn’t make any mistake with their next effort, from the play of the ball Jack Hansen darted over to score and Tommy Johnson successfully kicked the conversion – reaching an impressive 1000 points for the Wrexham based side.
Unfortunately for the Crusaders, they’d left it too late to comeback, leaving Hunslet to claim the two points with a 36-26 victory.
1 Jimmy Watson
24 Cameron Leeming
4 Mufaro Mvududu
12 Aston Wilson
5 Marcus Webb
6 Joe Sanderson
7 Danny Ansell
8 Michael Haley
25 Matthew Tebb
10 Lewis Reed
11 Jake Normington
22 Brooke Broughton
13 Liam Mackay
14 George Flanagan
23 Jose Kenga
15 Jack Coventry
17 Nyle Flynn
Tries: Watson (2), Reed (11), Normington (14), Leeming (30), Flanagan (36, 47) Ansell (52)
Goals: Sanderson (4/7)
North Wales Crusaders:
1 Tommy Johnson
19 Danny Price
28 Callum Mulkeen
4 Earl Hurst
5 Dale Bloomfield
26 Jack Hansen
7 Ryan Smith
8 Jonny Walker
9 Lee Hudson
10 Alex Davidson
24 Jack Houghton
3 Simon Atherton
14 James Dandy
27 Aaron Moore
13 Ryan Millington
32 Warren Thompson
31 Blake Turner
Tries: Smith (17), Price (23), Millington (27), Hurst (44), Hansen (69)
Goals: Johnson (3/5)
Sin-bin: Bloomfield (37)
Man Of The Match: Tommy Johnson