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1st Jul, 2022

RUGBY LEAGUE - Midlands Hurricanes edged out by table topping Crusaders

MIDLANDS Hurricanes saw their two-game winning run come to an end after they were narrowly beaten 22-18 by league leaders North Wales Crusaders.

The Midlands side went toe-to-toe with the table toppers only to fall just short in their attempt to pull off a famous victory at Eirias Stadium.

Ben Stead, Liam Welham and Benn Hardcastle crossed for the visitors who led by two points at the break only for the Crusaders to remain perfect after five rounds of matches.

The result means Hurricanes sit seventh in the Betfred League 1 table, with two wins and three defeats from their five matches.

Head Coach Rich Squires said: “I thought the effort was 100% today versus the team sitting top of the table – it’s probably our best performance of the season.

“People stood up to be counted, and we have made big improvements over the past few weeks. North Wales are a very clinical team and we frustrated them at certain points, which is what we aimed to do.

“We need to use this as a blueprint to move forward into Hunslet next week at home.”

Crusaders made a quick start and crossed for two early tries through Alex Eckley in the corner and Gavin Rodden when he finished off a flowing move.

However, Hurricanes responded when Stead collected Welham’s offload before throwing a dummy and touching down.

And Welham then grabbed a try for himself as he raced in from 70 metres out to score in the corner after the home side spilled the ball close to the Hurricanes line.

The Midlands side then edged into a two-point lead at the break as Hardcastle kicked a penalty from the corner to complete a 10-point turnaround.

However, Crusaders regained the lead when Rodden brushed off a couple of tackles to score his second try of the match before Tom Johnson grabbed the match-winning score after consecutive goal line drop-outs.

The visitors were given hope when Hardcastle strolled over for a try late on and converted his own score but the Midlands club were unable to find another to head home empty-handed.

Hurricanes are next in action at home to Hunslet on Sunday, May 1 with kick-off at 3pm at Portway.

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