NORTH WALES CRUSADERS were denied a point following a controversial drop-goal which saw Hunslet claim a 19-18 victory at the Queensway Stadium.
Crusaders started strongly in both attack and defence but failed to make their efforts count as play was twice pulled back for forward passes deep into the Hunslet half.
The first real chance fell to the visitors as Jack Lee broke away and looked to be through only to be brought down by Olly Ashall-Bott just meters away from the line.
However, it wasn’t long before Hunslet did open the scoring as 16 minutes in a high kick to the corner was spilled by Dale Bloomfield leaving Hunslet to take a 6-0 lead.
Minutes later the Crusaders found a response as Ryan Smith sent Warren Thompson crashing through the Hunslet defence to level the score.
Hunslet hit back with 25 minutes gone as a well timed kick through the Crusaders’ defence was collected by Joe Sanderson who made no mistake to finish the move beneath the posts and restore the visitor’s six point advantage.
As the game opened up the Crusaders found a response once again. Following a period of strong defence a grubber kick from Ryan Smith rebounded off the post into the hands of Brad Walker who leapt over the line to make it 12-12 at the break.
Despite the rising temperature at the Queensway Stadium, both sides continued to contest a tight affair. Three minute into the second-half the Crusaders defence was called upon as they held Hunslet up over the line.
Moments later Hunslet took an opportunity to take the lead for a third time as Sanderson converted a penalty to give his side a 14-12 advantage.
Though the Crusaders continued to match their opponents as just minutes later Tommy Johnson levelled the score as he converted a penalty at the other end of the field to make it 14-14.
As the game entered the final 20 minutes, Hunslet crossed once again. A high kick to the corner from Cain Southernwood found Ashton who ran the ball over the whitewash.
Having dealt with sustained pressure from the visitors, Crusaders drew level with nine minutes remaining as Bloomfield leapt to gather a high kick before beating the Hunslet defenders to the line taking the score to 18-18.
With just two minutes remaining the Crusaders were denied a point by a controversial drop-goal which appeared to fall beneath the bar only to be given and send Hunslet home with a 19-18 victory.