By Josh Pay, Queensway Stadium, Wrexham.
NORTH WALES CRUSADERS were beaten by full-time transatlantic side, Toronto Wolfpack, as they suffered an 80-0 defeat at the Queensway Stadium.
The Wolfpack entered the game on the back of an 82-6 victory over Doncaster last weekend, and they proved to be too strong for the Crusaders.
The home side were out of the game by half-time as Toronto entered the break 60 points up. However, a stronger second-half showing from the Wrexham based side saw them concede just 20 points as well as having a try ruled out.
Both teams had put nerves aside as they completed their first sets. However, Toronto were gifted a try after just three minutes as the Crusaders dropped the ball and the visitors took full advantage with Craig Hall opening the scoring.
The Wolfpack doubled their advantage soon after as, following a scrappy period of play, Gary Wheeler found the line.
A further two tries followed for Toronto before the clock had reached ten minutes. First, Blake Wallace did well as he ran through the Crusaders defence to cross the whitewash and he was quickly followed over by Wheeler who grabbed his second of the match.
With 24 points already on the board, the Wolfpack continued to pile the pressure on the Crusaders’ line as they sent a grubber kick into the in goal area and forced the hosts into conceding a goal-line drop out.
Making use of their repeat set, Toronto scored once again. After making good ground in the build up, Sean Penkywicz darted over the line from close range.
Following a knock-on from the visitors, the Crusaders had the ball and came close to making good use of it. Corey Lee ran down the wing and passed inside to Simon Atherton. However, the scrambling Toronto defence managed to halt Atherton before he could reach the line.
More chances followed for the Wolfpack as Liam Kay spilled the ball before he could ground it. Though, it wasn’t long before they made up for their previous error as Adam Sidlow crashed over the line.
Two quick-fire scores followed as Rhys Jacks was sent over and quickly followed by Hall who finished off a nice move from the Wolfpack.
With two minutes remaining, Toronto found the line on two more occasions. First, Fuifui MoiMoi crashed through the Crusaders’ defence, before Liam Kay opened his account on the hooter, sending Toronto into half-time 60 points up.
An improved second-half showing was needed from the home side – and that’s exactly what they gave.
It was Toronto who opened the second-half scoring through Quentin Togag’e’s two tries. First the full-back was sent over by Wheeler before he ran through the home side’s defence to score.
However, following the try the Crusaders began to see more of the ball, and, on a few occasions, they looked like threatening Toronto’s clean sheet. Though the visitors’ strong defensive efforts kept them out.
That was until Callum Mullkeen broke down the wing to cross the line in the corner – only for the effort to be disallowed by the touch judge who had ruled Mullkeen to have been pushed out of play before he grounded the ball.
After some valiant efforts in defence, the Crusaders were eventually broken as Wheeler once again broke through the host’s defence before sending Hall over for his hat-trick.
With four minutes remaining, a try from Greg Worthington saw the Wolfpack reach 80 after he barged through the Crusaders’ defence and the referee deemed that he had grounded the ball despite the best efforts of the home side’s defence.
A late chance followed for the Crusaders. However, they were once again met by a strong Toronto defence and the final score remaind 80-0 in favour of the Canadian outfit.
North Wales Crusaders:
1 Tommy Johnson
2 Corey Lee
11 Alex Thompson
28 Callum Mulkeen
5 Dale Bloomfield
26 Jack Hansen
7 Ryan Smith
10 Alex Davidson
14 James Dandy
15 John Cookson
24 Jack Houghton
3 Simon Atherton
16 Luke Warburton
27 Aaron Moore
23 Jack Francis
31 Blake Turner
13 Ryan Millington
1 Quentin Togag’e
15 Ryan Burroughs
3 Greg Worthington
4 Craig Hall
5 Liam Kay
14 Gary Wheeler
6 Blake Wallace
21 Adam Sidlow
24 Sean Penkywicz
25 Ryan Bailey
17 Richard Whiting
12 James Laithwaite
13 Jack Bussey
8 Fuifui MoiMoi
10 Dan Fleming
7 Rhys Jacks
19 Steve Crossley
Tries: Hall (3, 30, 70), Wheeler (6, 11), Wallace (8), Penkywicz (14), Sidlow (22), Jacks (26), MoiMoi (38), Kay (40), Togaga’e (45, 47), Worthington (76)
Goals: Hall (12/14)
Referee: B. Robinson
Half-Time: North Wales Crusaders 0-60 Toronto Wolfpack
Man Of The Match: James Dandy – Standing as captain in place of the unavailable Lee Hudson, Dandy did well to lift his side to a stronger second-half showing as well as making a few impressive breaks.