NORTH WALES CRUSADERS’ three game win streak was ended by promotion chasing Doncaster in a frustrating afternoon at the Queensway Stadium.
Anthony Murray’s side were victims of their own downfall as a catalogue of errors led to Doncaster running seven tries past the Wrexham-based side.
With first-team regulars Dale Bloomfield, Gavin Conroy and Kenny Baker absent, Crusaders handed a debut to Wales students’ Aled Davies who become the first player to come through the Crusaders’ new youth structure.
Doncaster came close to opening the scoring with just four minutes played as Jason Tali looked to pounce on a grubber kick behind the Crusaders defence which was eventually marshalled out by Ryan Smith.
Crusaders then passed up on their own opportunity to take the lead as a strong run by Earl Hurst concluded in him being held up by the Doncaster defence as the game remained scoreless.
With 16 minutes gone, Doncaster opened the scoring. Following a 40/20 from Richard Owen, the visitors made good use of their position as Russ Spiers barged over from short range.
Richard Horne’s side looked to double their advantage moments later as Owen attempted to dive over the line from close range, only to be held out.
Crusaders’ efforts in defence were rewarded with 21 minutes on the clock as Earl Hurst shifted the ball out wide to Aled Davies who leapt over the line for a try on his debut – levelling the score in the process.
Unfortunately for the Welsh outfit, the score didn’t remain level for long. Down the other end of the field Doncaster made use of an error from Crusaders who were caught out by an offload before Tali powered his way over.
In the final minutes of the first-half, the visitors extended their advantage to ten points. A well timed move saw Doncaster brake the line before Owen waled the ball over the whitewash beneath the posts.
With five minutes of the second-half gone, Doncaster started as they had ended the first, with a try. Following a Crusaders knock-on in front of the Doncaster line, the visitors ran the length of the field via Aaron Jones-Bishop to score beneath the posts.
A scrappy period of play followed as both sides failed to secure the ball leading to numerous knock-ons.
Crusaders had an opportunity to hit back as Smith sent a high-kick towards the corner. However, it was dealt with well by the Doncaster defence who came away with possession.
As the game entered its final 15 minutes, Doncaster extend their lead as Jones-Bishop found Sam Doherty who scored in the corner to bring the score to 26-6.
The hosts hit back almost immediately as a well worked move resulted in Jack Houghton sliding over the line.
Doncaster didn’t take long to restore their advantage as Jason Tali worked his way over in the corner.
With one minute remaining, Doncaster ran in their seventh of the afternoon as Charlie Martin crashed over the line.