NORTH WALES CRUSADERS returned to winning ways seeing off Hemel Stags 40-16 in the Betfred League One.

A strong first-half showing set the Crusaders on their way to victory as they ran a total of seven tries past the Stags to end a run of three consecutive for the Wrexham based side.

Despite early chances to put pressure on the Hemel defence, it wasn’t until the 11th minute that the Crusaders opened the scoring. After keeping the ball alive in front of the Hemel line, Tommy Johnson found a gap which he ran through to score.

Minutes later the home side doubled their advantage. After breaking through the visitors’ defence, Jack Houghton found Owen Buckley in support who crossed the whitewash in the corner to give Crusaders a 10-0 lead.

The home side continued to put pressure on Hemel and were rewarded for their efforts as they crossed for their third try in the space of eight minutes. After breaking the line Steven Roper put the hosts in a good position to attack from before Joe Lyons raced across the line from the play of the ball to put Crusaders 16-0 up.

Hemel were next to cross the line as they hit back following some strong attacking play. After playing down the wing they found space out wide which Alex Williams made use of the score.

As the first-half entered its final ten minutes, the Crusaders crossed twice more. Aaron Moore was first to cross the whitewash after darting over beneath the posts from close range.

He was followed over by Simon Atherton who leapt over in the corner following a quick break down the wing from Lyons, sending the teams into the break with the home side leading 28-4.

Hemel started the second-half strongly, putting pressure on the Crusaders’ defence before eventually scoring through Kieran Smith who found a large gap in the defence to run through before grounding the ball.

The visitors then had a chance to score their third of the afternoon as they attacked the Crusaders’ line. However some strong goal-line defence from the home side forced Hemel into an error keeping the score at 28-10.

As they looked to pull away the Crusaders added another try courtesy of Jack Houghton who crashed over the line from close range. However, Hemel hit back minutes later as Jack Mitchell collected a high-kick before leaping over the line taking the score to 34-16.

Crusaders scored their seventh of the afternoon with 71 minutes on the clock as James Dandy weaved his way through the Hemel defence before finding the line to take the hosts onto 40 points.

Despite efforts from both sides, neither found a score in the last five minutes leaving the Welsh outfit to take the two point with a 40-16 victory.