By Ryan Gould at Glyndwr University Racecourse Stadium
North Wales Crusaders marked their return to the Racecourse after six weeks on the road with a comfortable victory over Hemel Stags to keep the pressure on promotion rivals Oldham.
With the season slowly coming to a close and Oldham ahead by five points, every game is now a must-win for Crusaders – and the Wrexham-based outfit took that in their stride, dominating much of the game without having to get out of second gear.
Crusaders opened the scoring in fine style; a fantastic break with great hands from Adamson, Roets and Birkett down the right hand side set up field position and, on the following play, an inside pass from Middlehurst sent Tommy Johnson over.
It didn’t take long for the Wrexham-based side to increase their lead as, after Hemel were penalised for interference, which should have arguably led to a sin-bin for a professional foul, Moulsdale fended off a tackle to touch down.
The visitors did hit back through Aiden Pritchard, although that was only temporarily as Dave McConnell went up the other end and scored with a 30-metre drive.
And that was followed by an effort from Dan Birkett, darting in at the corner after Tommy Johnson had gone close down the right with yet another break down the flank.
The Stags felt hard done by when referee Peter Brooke called Ben Young’s drive at the line as held up – and that was made even worse when McConnell went up the other end and scored a near replica of his first.
Hemel drew first blood in the second half when Jack Molloy wriggled his way over the line, but Crusaders soon hit back as Adamson’s offload sent captain Andy Moulsdale racing away to touch down under the sticks for his second.
Birkett crossed for his second as the game was drawing to a close, Moulsdale electing to go down the blind side from a scrum and slipping the ball to his winger.
Andy Moulsdale rounded off the victory for Crusaders with his hat-trick score, supporting Jono Smith’s break through the heart of the Stags defence.
NORTH WALES CRUSADERS
Tries: Johnson (4), Moulsdale (7, 57, 79), McConnell (20, 31), Birkett (24, 65)
Goals: Johnson 6/8
Tries: Pritchard (17), Molloy (54)
Goals: Swindells 2/2
Referee: Peter Brooke
MOTM: Andy Moulsdale – Mr Consistent; went over for a hat-trick and had another great kicking game.