NORTH WALES CRUSADERS kicked-off 2018 with a comfortable victory over West Wales Raiders in a pre-season Welsh derby at the Queensway Stadium.
Having seen last week’s friendly away to Rochdale Hornets called off due to a waterlogged pitch at the Crown Oil arena, Mike Grady’s side marked their first appearance of the year by running in 11 tries.
The Crusaders dominated the game, limiting the visitors to a handful of opportunities.
The first chance came after just six minutes as Steven Roper kicked into the corner towards Dale Bloomfield who failed to reach to the ball and the score remained level.
Moments later another opportunity followed, as the ball was shifted out wide to Danny Price who knocked-on in front the the West Wales line.
As the Crusaders continued to pile pressure on the visitors, Kenny Baker tried to find Bloomfield with a quick pass. However, the ball went dead, handing possession back to the visitors.
Ryan Smith was next to test the Raiders’ defence as he put a high-kick into the corner which Danny Price did well to collect it. However, he spilled the ball before he could ground it.
With 21 minutes on the clock, the home side eventually opened the scoring. After Tommy Johnson broke the West Wales line, he found Kenny Baker who in turn passed out wide to Bloomfield who crossed in the corner.
Minutes later the Crusaders doubled their advantage as Joe Bate found Jack Houghton who finished a nice move as he dived over the line.
The Crusaders’ third try in the space of nine minutes then followed. After some good defence saw them keep West Wales out, Price broke from inside the Crusaders’ half before beating the Raiders’ defence to the line to score – sending the teams into the break with the score at 18-0.
Mike Grady’s side began the second-half as they had finished the first. Just three minutes in Bate found Warren Thompson in support who crashed over the whitewash to give his side a 24 point advantage.
The home side then further extended their advantage as a series of quick passes aided Ryan Smith who broke the line before scoring in the corner.
Another try soon followed for the hosts as Alex Davidson found a gap in the Raiders’ defence which he ran through to score.
As the visitors looked to respond, they knocked-on under pressure from the home side’s defence, and the Crusaders made use of the error as Simon Atherton forced his way through the Raiders defence to score.
Gavin Conroy was next over the line as he created a gap in the Raiders’ defence before grounding in the corner taking the score to 44-0.
Following a stoppage in play which saw Fraser Stroud sent to the sin-bin for a late challenge on the kicker, the Crusaders made use of their man advantage as Callan Beckett scored in the corner.
Two more quick-fire efforts followed for the home side as Roper sent Bate over, before Jack Thompson followed him over in the corner, taking the final score to 60-0.
North Wales Crusaders will continue their pre-season schedule next weekend when they take on a Saint Helens select side at the Queensway Stadium.
North Wales Crusaders:
Tries: Bloomfield (21), Houghton (24), Price (30), W. Thompson (43), Smith (48), Davidson (53), Atherton (59), Conroy (62), Beckett (69), Bate (72), J. Thompson (73)
Goals: Johnson (6/8), Price (2/3)
West Wales Raiders:
2 Jack Uren
22 Sam Baker
3 Morgan Jefferies
4 Kurtis Haile
25 Rowland Kaye
6 Shaun Owens
7 Mark Asquith
10 Morgan Evans
9 Connor Farrer
20 Dalton Desmond-Walker
18 Shaun Tennant
16 Archie Snook
8 Connor Parker
11 Harrison Elliot
14 Macauley Harris
23 Taine Hendy
21 Ellis Simon
24 Fraser Stroud
19 Harry Boots
13 Karlin Claridge
1 Aneurin Walker
Referee: Greg Dolan
Man Of The Match: Brad Brennan