By Ryan Gould at Crusader Park
North Wales Crusaders turned around what could have been, at one point, a shock result with a 50-10 win over Thatto Heath Crusaders.
Thatto pushed Crusaders all the way in the first half, trailing the Welsh side by just two points at the break. But the second half was a completely different story as North Wales scored seven tries without reply.
There is a lot of talent hidden within the amateur game and this fixture showed what great work amateur clubs are doing, and in Thatto’s case, the youngsters that were given a shot in the club’s first run out of the season certainly proved that they deserved the opportunity.
Considering the two line-ups, with North Wales putting out a side similar to what could be expected when their competitive campaign comes around, it looked as though it was going to be a one-sided encounter, and that was the case early on.
Christiaan Roets broke down the right and offloaded to Lewys Weaver, who did excellently to cut inside and finish underneath the sticks. And Jonny Walker added another soon after, bulldozing his way over from close range.
But Thatto soon hit back. Liam Tatlock was sent over in the left corner and youngster Sean Kenny came up with a mazing run to go in under the posts, which took the score to 10-12 at half-time.
North Wales came out in the second half with what looked to be a different motive, going over for three tries in the opening six minutes.
Firstly Jono Smith barged his way over the line and then Reardon picked up his first try for North Wales Crusaders in fortuitous fashion; Sheen put in a grubber to the left corner, which Thatto’s Leon Tatlock completely misjudged, and Reardon was there to touch down.
The third effort in that short period, which completely threw the balance of the game, came from game star Roets, who showed great strength and pace to see off the Thatto defence after an initial break on halfway.
By that stage Crusaders were in full control and, along with a number of great opportunities which they should have capitalised on, they went on to score another four.
Wingers Massam and Kirby both went over in the left corner, and there was also a double in the space of a couple of minutes for Simon Stephens, with his second score highlighting the kind of damage he can do when hitting the line at speed.
THATTO HEATH CRUSADERS
Tries: Tatlock (19), Kenny (32)
Goals: Quinn 1/2
NORTH WALES CRUSADERS
Tries: Weaver (4), Walker (15), Smith (42), Reardon (44), Roets (46), Massam (55), Stephens (66, 71), Kirby (76)
Goals: Johnson 5/6, Weaver 2/3
Referee: Jamie Bloem
MOTM: Christiaan Roets – one of the only players to have a strong first half, while also going over for a superb solo try and being a constant attacking threat.