Crusaders through to junior shield final

NORTH Shields Crusaders were in semi-final action in the Northumberland Junior Shield.

Through the week, four players were lost to the first team and then a final player on the day of the match.

A full squad was fielded but with no backs cover on the bench.

The team had arrived at Medicals to find the pitch unplayable so it was back down the Coast Road to return to Preston Playing Fields where Keith Gray’s work on the pitches meant they were playable and the Crusaders could enjoy home advantage.

The Crusaders welcomed back Sam Condie at hooker and Gareth Ruddle in the back row. Tony Hansen started at scrum-half and Duncan Steed returned filling in at centre.

Peter Morton returned from his rugby break to play on the wing.

It was a hard fought game in damp conditions, the Crusaders had the wind advantage in the first half.

The Crusaders dominated in the set pieces and took the first points with a try from Tony Lion. Stand-off Alex Maynard added the conversion.

The Crusaders then relaxed the pressure and Medicals counter attacked to score an unconverted try.

An injury in the backs led to Ruddle moving to the centre and almost immediately scored a try, again Alex Maynard added the extras and it gave the Crusaders a 14-5 lead at half-time.

The second half started well for the Crusaders and Steed showed his talent to take the them 19-5 ahead.

The Crusaders were playing very well and looked organised and well drilled defending against a young Medicals side.

Steed scored a second try to further extend the hosts advantage 24-5.

The Crusaders now had their tails up and were playing some good rugby and Maynard topped off an excellent game with the final nail in the coffin for Medicals Serpents scoring the final try to make it 29-5 to the Crusaders.

No man of the match for the Crusaders could be picked as all the players put a great performance in.

The Crusaders are through to the final and will play either Northern Third XV or Gosforth Falcons.

The final will take place on Saturday, April 13, at a mutual venue with a 4pm kick-off.

This weekend Crusaders return to league action looking to maintain their lead at the top.They are at home to Consett thirds XV, kick-off 3pm.