Rugby League: South Wales Scorpions 24 North Wales Crusaders 36
By Ian Golden at The Gnoll
North Wales Crusaders did the double over their Welsh rivals after an exhilarating 36-24 win at The Gnoll on Sunday.
It was a game that both teams were capable of winning but in the end it was the experience of the North Wales side that showed through. Scorpions fielded five 18 year olds and another three debutants and the Crusaders’ stability and heads under pressure was enough to take the points.
However the Scorpions did secure a bonus point, their first competition point in five games, for losing by 12 points as the 687 crowd, the Scorpions’ highest in the league in 2012, were thoroughly entertained throughout.
After winning an early penalty, Crusaders nearly took the lead but Adam Clay was beaten to the ball winning a goal-line drop-out.
Following the kick, Jamie Durbin created the first North Wales try after palming off to Andy Gorski and despite a slight suspicion of a forward pass, the try was allowed. Tommy Johnson converted.
The second try came on eight minutes. Leon Brennan slipped past the defence and passed to Jamie Durbin who ran home. Johnson converted.
Toby Adamson of North Wales Crusaders was sinbinned for poleaxing Steve Parry after he’d kicked the ball away. From a second penalty, Shaun Owens ran through and scored underneath the sticks, converting his own try.
After forcing a goal-line drop-out, Crusaders went over for their third try – Rob Massam in the corner following a good passing move. The conversion was missed.
Adam Clay scored the fourth after catching an Andy Moulsdale high bomb to score in the opposite corner. Johnson converted.
Scorpions hit back on 29 minutes with Nathan Mossop squeezing his way through for a typical dummy half try. Owens converted.
They followed that up straight away when under 18 graduate Thomas Gwyn Morgan slipped through for a score on his debut. Owens goaled again and Scorpions went into half-time just four points down.
Massam looked to have got Crusaders on the board first in the second half but he was pulled into touch by a gang of anxious Scorpions defenders.
At the other end Owens looked to have scored an excellent individual try but the referee ruled he’d lost the ball when grounding.
Finally, Scorpions broke through when Steve Parry made a 40 metre individual run to ground. Owens converted and Scorpions were in the lead for the first time in the game.
But Crusaders regained the advantage following a penalty when Moulsdale slipped the ball to Liam Hulme who twisted his way under the sticks. Johnson, despite having the easiest of conversions, hit the post.
Jono Smith soon followed him over with Johnson converting this time to give Crusaders an eight point advantage.
And the North Wales side sealed it when Clay intercepted a stray pass to run 90 metres and ground for his second. Johnson’s kick was missed so Scorpions were still in bonus point territory.
Parry thought he’d scored a last second consolation but the referee ruled it out for obstruction, just the conclusion of a frustrating afternoon for the South Wales side.