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Crusaders Maintain Perfect Start

North Wales Crusaders maintained their 100% start to their 2024 Betfred League One campaign with a 58-18 victory over Newcastle Thunder in Colwyn Bay.



On the back of last week's narrow victory over Midlands Hurricanes, North Wales came into the game with a point to prove against a Newcastle side building on young foundations following relegation from the Championship last season.


In blustery conditions at in North Wales, it was the home side who set the pace early on as the ball was worked out wide to Matt Reid who shrugged off the Newcastle defence to open the scoring with just three minutes gone.


Moments later Crusaders doubled their advantage as Jack Holmes showed strength to power his way over the line.


With just ten minutes on the clock, Reid crossed for his second of the afternoon with North Wales racing into a 16-0 lead.


It didn't take long for that to increase as Newcastle struggled to deal with an attacking onslaught from the hosts which saw Pat AhVan have a piece of the action bouldering through the defence to score out wide.


Shaun Costello was next over the line. Despite Newcastle's best efforts they failed to hold Crusaders out with Costello spotting a gap which he dived through to score.


The visitors looked to respond making their way into the Crusaders' half, however, momentum didn't last for long as Matthew Fletcher marked his loan return to North Wales with a try.


First-half action didn't end there as Levy Nzoungou proved too much to handle for a battered Newcastle line who then struggled to stop Jack Holmes from finishing a nice break to send the home side into half-time 42-0 up.


The second-half proved a much tighter affair with Newcastle making use of a penalty in good field position to go on and score.


Crusaders responded on 56 minutes when player-coach Carl Forster continued his hot run of form by charging over to restore a 42 point lead for his side.


Newcastle continued to show great fight, having forced Crusaders int errors the visitors made them pay for their mistakes as Harry Price was sent through a gap in the defence to score.


However, Forster led from the front once again, powering onto a flat pass to steamroll his way over for his second score of the afternoon.


With three minutes remaining, Ryan Ellis completed a dominant display from North Wales, who despite Newcastle having the last say with a 79th minute score, saw out a 58-18 victory to maintain their 100% record.


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