Crusaders cap superb season with county cup win

North Shields Crusaders after their Northumberland County Junior Shield final win over Northern 3rds.

North Shields Crusaders after their Northumberland County Junior Shield final win over Northern 3rds.

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NORTH Shields Crusaders won their first ever Northumberland County Junior Shield final with an 18-13 win over Northern 3rds.

Crusaders went into the game at Alnwick knowing that the double was on after their recent good run in the County League had seen them open up an unassailable 13-point lead.

In the pack, Sam Condie returned at hooker alongside Iain Pearson and Ben Marshall in the front row. Owen Irving came into the second row while Cai Payne-Tate also returned in the back row.

In the backs Tony Hansen returned at scrum-half.

Crusaders started slowly and Northern were first to score with a converted try.

On the quarter hour mark Crusaders opened their account with a penalty from Jack Jeffrey.

Late in the half after an even period of play, Crusaders took the lead through a Gareth Ruddle try.

And Crusaders ended the half strongly and extended their lead with a second try for Ruddle, making the interval score 13-7.

The third quarter was pointless before two penalties for Northern allowed them to draw level.

Bruce Parker was unable to take a chance to retake the lead with a try in the corner but then the Crusaders pack combined to score a push over try, Tony Lion with the score to give them an 18-13 lead.

The final ten minutes was all played on the Crusaders line, but good defence saw Northern unable to score.

The win capped an excellent end to the season for North Shields Crusaders with the league and cup double.

A total of 86 players have played for Crusaders during the season.

The club thanked its travelling support and students Dave Alder and Duncan Steed who travelled back early to play.

It was also acting captain Tony Lion’s final game and marked a great way to finish his career.

Crusaders captain Fen Taylor thanked all the players, especially the subs and the young lads for their continued commitment throughout the season and he was looking forward to next season.