MATCH REPORT: Crusaders 10 – 30 Thunder

Newcastle Thunder maintained their fine run of away form on Sunday afternoon, with a 10-30 win over North Wales Crusaders in Betfred League 1.

The third win on the road for Jason Payne’s side this season, the foundations were laid with a strong first half performance allowing Thunder to assume a 4-22 lead at half-time, before going on to close out the game.

The Tynesiders were quick out of the blocks in Wrexham, scoring an unconverted try from Evan Simons with just six minutes played, but were pegged back five minutes later as the Crusaders crossed for a try of their own through Kenny Baker.

It was a short-lived leveling of the scores though, as Aaron Ollet allowed the visitors to establish a six-point lead as he followed up on a superb tackle from Theerapol Ritson.

Smashing his opposite number in the tackle, Ritson’s hit forced a spill of the ball from Gavin Conroy, which Ollett proceeded to gather and score, with Tom Shaw adding the extras.

Looking to further build their score, Thunder began to apply plenty of pressure onto their hosts and were up to 4-16 with 25 minutes played thanks to Danny Nicklas.

Making his first appearance in League 1 for Thunder this season, the scrum-half ran great support as his middles caused plenty of problems for the Crusaders defence, making himself available to finish a move that saw the visitors cover plenty of ground quickly.

After a Thunder handling error handed the Crusaders a solid attacking platform within the 20, North Wales went close to adding to their tally off a 40/20 through Alex Davison, though a great defensive effort ensured he was held up and that possession was handed over.

Having ridden out that particular period of pressure, Thunder stuck once more themselves prior to the break as Vincent Rennie crossed with a trademark bulldozing run from close range.

Following a slow start to the second period, it was the Crusaders who first troubled the scoreboard, as Alex Trumper stepped his way inside of a gap for a converted effort before both sides struggled to find further breakthroughs.

When Thunder were awarded a penalty for a high tackle on Liam McAvoy with nine minutes remaining, Shaw opted for an attempt at goal which got the scoreboard ticking back over for the visitors, before Rennie added his second three minutes from time.

Penalised for a player lying in the ruck, Lewis Young took a quick tap penalty and laid on the scoring pass for the Cook Island international to complete a return to winning ways.

Newcastle Thunder

Lewis Young, Mo Agoro, Joe Brown, Ben Calland, Theerapol Ritson, Danny Nicklas, Tom Shaw, Liam McAvoy, Evan Simons, Jack Aldous, Sam Luckley, Aaron Ollett, Conor Fitzsimmons, Ben Pointer, Harry Aldous, Vincent Rennie, Ryan Lloyd

Try Scorers – Simons (6) Ollett (14) Nicklas (25) Rennie (34, 77)

Goal Scorers – Shaw 5/6

Thunder MoM – Harry Aldous

North Wales Crusaders

Tommy Johnson, Gavin Conroy, Alex Trumper, Kenny Baker, Steven Roper, Ryan Smith, Alex Gerrard, James Dandy, Joe Bate, Jack Houghton, Jordan Case, Brad Walker, Lee Hudson, Alex Davidson, Warren Thompson, Liam Hulme

Try Scorers – Baker (11) Trumper (50)

Goal Scorer – Johnson 1/2

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