Pythons take the points from Crusaders

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North Shields Crusaders returned to county league action on Saturday with Ponteland Pythons the visitors to Preston Playing Fields.

The Crusaders saw Darren McErlain return from injury at full-back and Tommy Rendles was at fly-half. In the pack Ben Cockburn and Dave Alder returned at prop and flanker respectively.

The Crusaders had a large bench and loaned four players to Ponteland to give them a full side.

In the first half it was Ponteland who started the better and in what is becoming a familiar story this season for the Crusaders they conceded four early tries to their opponents and saw Ponteland take a 24-point lead.

The Crusaders started to get back into the game with Dave Alder scoring his first try of the season and Selwyn Palmer his first for the club,

Neil McKenzie was successful with the second conversion attempt to make the score 24-12 to the visitors, but Ponteland scored the final try of the half and made the interval score 29-12.

The second half saw the Crusaders make use of their bench including Dave Stopforth playing his first game for a couple of seasons coming on in the second row.

The Crusaders were a better side in the second half and dominated but only managed one further try from Dave Griffith-Owen, which made the final score 29-17.

Next week the Crusaders look to return to winning ways in the county cup when they begin their defence of the Northumberland Junior Shield by hosting Border Park in the first round, kick-off is at 2pm.

The first team are also in cup action this Saturday with a first pool match in the RFU Senior Vase. Hartlepool BBOB are the visitors with a 2.15pm kick-off.