NORTH Shields Crusaders returned to action on Saturday after an enforced two week break through lack of available opposition.
This was a county league game and top of the table Crusaders welcomed Ashington to Preston Playing Fields looking to avenge their opening day defeat at the Recreation Ground.
The Crusaders were able to field Gary Crombie for the first time this season at stand off. Two players made their debuts with Ben Marshall at prop and Daniel Quine in the centre. Daniel Persson returned on the wing.
After some early Ashington pressure the Crusaders opened the scoring with a penalty from Daniel Persson.
Ashington again pressured the Shields line but some good defence saw them unable to score. Then two quick tries from Cai Payne-Tate and Daniel Persson put the hosts in a strong position.
Daniel Persson successful with the first conversion but denied the second despite it looking good to most people watching both on and off the pitch.
A long period of first half stoppage time resulted in Ashington scoring a late try making the half-time score 15-7 to the Crusaders.
At half-time Fen Taylor replaced Tony Lion and the Crusaders were quickly again on the score sheet with a good try from Bruce Parker, Daniel Persson again successful with the extras before scoring again himself in the corner.
Ashington hit back with two second half tries but the Crusaders saw out the game to win 27-19.
The Crusaders ended the year on a high maintaining their top position in the county league. Joint men of the match were Cai Payne-Tate and Bruce Parker who both had their usual excellent games. There is now a Christmas break with the next match not until January 5.