North Wales 46 Gateshead 18
North Wales Crusaders edged closer to the play-offs with an efficient performance against Gateshead Thunder, making the most of opportunities when they had them to run out 46-18 winnders.by NRL
North Wales Crusaders edged closer to the play-offs with an efficient performance against Gateshead Thunder, making the most of opportunities when they had them to run out 46-18 winnders.
The home side rotated their squad around with Rob Massam being missing - Hulme slotting in at full back, Johnson therefore moving into the centres and Swinton loanee Dave McConnell moving into the hooker role.
McConnell put in a fantastic display and Clive Griffiths complemented that. "He was very impressive today, and that's why we brought him here, for some of our young nines to learn of him. They'll certainly be able to learn from that today", he said.
On the game, he commented, "It was a patchy performance, but to score 48 points isn't a bad effort. We know we can attack better than that and control the ball better than that, but we have to be happy - it's three points and we're continuing to climb the table.
It was by no means a perfect display from the Crusaders, but it was a game that was won professionally, and that was the main goal.
However, credit must go to Gateshead who put in a good shift, but questionnable defensive play allowed the game to slip away from them at crucial points in the game.
The game started very slowly, and it took 15 minutes for either side to opening the scoring. It was Crusaders that did, Hulme finishing off an Andy Moulsdale break.
Brett Waller replied for Thunder, diving over from acting half, as the home sides defensive line couldn't come up with the strength to hold him up.
All that good work to get them back into the contest came to nothing, as North Wales Crusaders hit them hard with four tries in ten minutes.
Gorski and Clarke both bounced off tackles to crash over for scores, Durbin ran in following a Brennan break, and debutant Liam Hulme managed to sneak over from acting half.
Gateshead again managed to reply, and it all came from a perfectly weighted pass to the wing from Sam Walsh, with Thackeray collecting to dive in at the corner.
The first half produced an entertaining encounter, but after the interval the game slowed down and featured a lot of handling errors, along with poor discipline from both sides.
Gateshead gave themselves a great chance though, bringing the defecit back to just 10 points with a Brett Waller try - this being his second of the game.
But North Wales Crusaders got their 16-point lead back almost immediately, Jono Smith squeezing through the visitors goal-line defence from acting half.
Thunder had plenty of further pressure on their opponents line, but they couldn't capitalise on that, and the Crusaders added two further tries to make the score line look far more comfortable than what the game was for them.
Firstly, Leon Brennan made 50 metres with a line break, offloading to McConnell, who then supplied the decisive pass to the injured Danny Hulme to score.
And then McConnell finished off a line break himself, Andy Moulsdale orchestrating the initial break this time and Johnson supplying the final pass to seal the win.
NORTH WALES CRUSADERS
Tries: D.Hulme 15, 71, Gorski 21, Clarke 25, Durbin 27, L.Hulme 31, Smith 57, McConnell 77
Goals: Johnson 7/8
Tries: Waller 18, 53, Thackeray 35
Goals: Stamp 1/1, Barker 2/2
Referee: Greg Dolan
MOTM: Dave McConnell
Follow rleague.com on Facebook
View profile pages including statistics, results, news, photos and more on all of the following...