NEWCASTLE THUNDER secured a 30-10 victory over North Wales Crusaders at the Queensway Stadium to inflict back-to-back defeats on Anthony Murray’s side.
The Crusaders came into the game looking to build on last weeks narrow loss to top of the table Doncaster. However, fellow play-off chasing Newcastle proved to be too strong for the Wrexham-based side.
Murray made several changes to the side with captain Lee Hudson returning to the squad along with Liam Hulme and Warren Thompson whilst Alex Gerrard made his debut on loan from Betfred Super League outfit Widnes Vikings.
Newcastle opened the scoring with just six minutes on the clock. After finding space out wide on the last tackle, Evan Simons burrowed his way through the Crusaders’ defence to give Thunder a 4-0 lead.
The hosts hit back minutes later as Kenny Baker was sent over in the corner to level the score.
However, the score didn’t remain tied for long as Newcastle re-took the lead in the 14th minute. After Gavin Conroy spilled a high-kick into the corner, Aaron Ollett leapt on the loose ball to score.
Thunder further extended their advantage with 25 minutes gone. After some nice play down the middle, Daniel Nicklas drove his way through the defence, making the score 16-4.
Newcastle got a fourth before the break. After gaining good ground from a penalty, the visitors made their position count as Vincent Rennie turned to score sending the teams into the break with the score at 22-4.
The Crusaders started the second-half brightly – putting pressure on the Newcastle line with repeat sets. However, they failed to find a way through the Newcastle defence before Thunder eventually retook possession.
The visitors then saw an attempt of their own go begging as Joseph Brown was denied a try by some scrambling Crusaders defence.
With ten minutes of the first-half gone, the Crusaders crossed for their second of the afternoon. A nice play down the wing led to Alex Trumper stepping inside before running through a gap to score.
Tommy Johnson added the extras with his 500th goal for the club, taking the Crusaders to within two scores.
As a scrappy second-half continued, the Crusaders once again failed to make use of some good field position as a pass out to the wing rolled into touch.
With Newcastle successfully kicking a penalty to extend their lead to 24-4, the game was all but over for Murray’s side. Then, with three minutes remaining, Thunder’s Vincent Rennie crossed for his second of the match to take the final score to 30-10 in favour of the visitors.
North Wales Crusaders will set their sights on next weekend’s trip to Derwent Park to face Workington Town as they look to get back to winning ways.