Ryan Gould at The Glyndwr University Racecourse Stadium
NORTH WALES CRUSADERS were knocked out of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup at the fifth round stage, despite a spirited display against a strong Featherstone Rovers side.
After falling 10-0 behind within the first ten minutes, Crusaders grew in to the game during the remainder of the first-half and were in with a chance at the break, trailing just 16-6.
They narrowed that gap further shortly after the break, but Featherstone showed their quality as they ran away with the game in the last 20 minutes and inflicted a harsh looking scoreline on Crusaders.
Rovers took the lead early on when they capitalised on a Crusaders error, with Gareth Moore collecting Stuart Reardon’s dropped ball to race 60 metres downfield and touch down.
And they opened up a ten-point advantage soon after; Thomas Minns broke down the left flank and he had Andy Ellis in support to finish off the move.
Crusaders did come up with an immediate response, however, as Jamie Dallimore collected the ball on the left wing and then cut back inside to score.
It looked as though Crusaders would go on to record more points soon after, but Featherstone went over for their third of the afternoon against the run of play.
A break from deep drove Rovers forward and, later on in the set, the ball was flung out to the left wing, where Will Sharp acrobatically dived in at the corner.
The game had swung back in Rovers’ favour, but they failed to record any further points in the first period against a stubborn Crusaders defensive line.
The hosts started the second-half the better out of the two sides and, within minutes, Tommy Johnson managed to break a tackle and touch the ball down on the line.
Crusaders very nearly took the lead for the first time in the game when Tommy Johnson pounced on an error in-goal by Rovers, but referee Dave Merrick judged that he was offside from Dallimore’s initial kick.
Then, Featherstone went up the other end of the field and made their hosts pay, as Blackmore collected Hardman’s pass to cross in the corner.
Reni Maitua took in Gareth Moore’s short ball to force his way over, before Blackmore went in for his second and Rovers’ sixth of the afternoon soon after.
Alex Foster rounded up matters for Featherstone at the death, showing great strength to cut in from the right wing and touch down.
NORTH WALES CRUSADERS
1 Tommy Johnson
5 Rob Massam
3 Christiaan Roets
17 Stuart Reardon
21 Ian Mort
26 Craig White
7 Jamie Dallimore
8 Jonny Walker
9 Callum Wright
16 Joe Burke
23 Mark Hobson
12 Stephen Wild
13 Gary Middlehurst
14 Karl Ashall
10 Ryan Duffy
23 Andrew Joy
20 Elliot Davies
Tries: Dallimore (15), Johnson (43)
Goals: Johnson (2/2)
21 Jy Hitchcox
5 Ben Blackmore
1 Ian Hardman
4 Thomas Minns
2 Will Sharp
6 Paul Sykes
7 Gareth Moore
8 Jordan Baldwinson
9 Andy Ellis
17 Matt James
12 Reni Maitua
19 Alex Foster
13 Tim Spears
31 Remy Marginet
16 Andy Bostock
15 Jack Bussey
24 Mason Tonks
Tries: Moore (6), Ellis (8), Sharp (23), Blackmore (54, 65), Maitua (61), Foster (77)
Goals: Moore (5/7)
Referee: Dave Merrick
MOTM: Jamie Dallimore – scored Crusaders’ first try and looked lively all afternoon.
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