NORTH Shields Crusaders win last week against Consett 3rd XV had given them a four-point lead at the top of the Northumberland River Derwent League.
On Saturday they hosted Novos Centurions as the pitch at Sutherland Park was flooded and Novos were looking for revenge following the defeat earlier in fixture.
Barry Elliot came into the side at second row and as captain while Ben Cockburn filled in at hooker. Iain and Peter Finlay formed the centre partnership. Alex Fraser returned from his studies to start in the back row and J J Davis from last season’s youth started on the bench.
The first half started with early pressure from the Crusaders resulting in an opening penalty scored by Jack Jeffrey.
Novos then broke away to take the lead with an unconverted try.
An evenly match spell was followed by three quick Crusaders tries before half time, two from Alex Fraser and one for Barry Elliot. Jack Jeffrey was successful with all the conversions to give the half-time score of 24-5.
The second half was evenly matched again but the Crusaders scored at regular intervals to take the match away from Novos.
Barry Elliot scored two more tries to complete his hat-trick and Bruce Parker also got his name on the score sheet with a try. Jack Jeffrey added two conversions.
Novos scored a second try but the Crusaders ran out 43-10 winners.
Man of the match was awarded to Ben Cockburn who filled in at hooker and later as prop.
Next week Crusaders are again in league action with Houghton Boars the visitors to Preston Playing Fields, kick-off 3pm.