OPEN AGE MATCH REPORTS
CRUSADERS OPEN AGE GET BACK TO WINNING WAYS
July 3rd 2021
Crusaders Open Age are kindly sponsored by Gary Hannah in support of his chosen charity Combat Stress.
On Saturday Crusaders took on Durham Tigers at Robertson Rd, in the league, after a disappointing outing, the previous week, in the cup.
Despite their position at the foot of the table, Durham Tigers were always going to give Crusaders some trouble (of the right kind) in what is almost a local derby. With the Army’s Inter Corps competition starting and a niggling injury to Jonathon Williams Crusaders had to draft in some former juniors to cover the halfback positions this came in the form of brothers Jeremy and Rupert Civil, who were both outstanding and a massive physical presence.
Crusaders kicked off the game, and Tigers immediately started with some penetrating runs up the middle which caught the Crusaders defence a little off guard. However having easily fielded the last play, the Crusaders started their attack by shipping the ball Fred Work on the second play, who broke the line to feed Pita Banivanua who slipped the ball back inside for PJ Fincken-Hayes to carry on the run and score between the uprights.
In Eaun Kitching and Tee Vakalevlevu Tigers possessed two fabulous kickers and this hampered Crusaders at almost every restart and Crusaders would find themselves defending rather than attacking from the restart. However once the ball was back in Crusaders hands they carried on delivering the tries. Before the break Pita Banivanua would grab a brace, as did Maika Bose. Manasa Ravulo also grabbed a try and Nemani Tuvakasiga finished the first half scoring with his first try for the club. The second half started in breath taking fashion for Crusaders with centre and winger partnership Fred Work and Pita Banivanua accounting for the next 5 tries between them in blistering fashion! Crusaders play then became a bit disjointed and they came away from their effective structures which played into the hands of Tigers. Despite the disjointed approach Crusaders still managed to post another 3 tries courtesy of PJ Fincken-Hayes and Nemani Tuvakasiga (2). The final score was 76-28 to Crusaders. Crusaders would like to thank the Tunstall Meat Company for providing us with some great quality burgers and sausages to enjoy after the match. Despite the overcast conditions they went down a storm al fresco outside the pavilion. Thank you everyone that tipped up to cheers us on. Our next game is a friendly at home against Yarm Wolves on Thursday.
Rugby Ball Kicker
CRUSADERS PROGRESS IN THE CUP
June 12th 2021
On Saturday Crusaders Open Age saw off a very physical and determined Jarrow Vikings to progress to the Semi Finals of the North East Men’s Cup.
Crusaders were sporting their new shirts kindly sponsored by Gary Hannah and proudly baring the logos of his chosen charity, Combat Stress. Vikings travelled down to North Yorkshire with a much changed from the side beaten by Crusaders in the league in Round 2.
The game got off to an expected physical start however, Crusaders managed to quickly break the deadlock with 2 quick tries in the first 15 minutes. However as expected Vikings weren’t prepared to roll over and as the 20 minute point arrived Vikings were still very much in the game when tempers flared as the result of a Crusaders reckless tackle which saw 1 Crusader sent for an early shower and 2 Crusaders and 1 Viking sent for a 10 minute rest period. Despite being down to 10 v 12 for the next 10 minutes Crusaders still managed to keep their noses in front and it remained that way until the half time whistle. After the break the Vikings battered into the Crusaders line repeatedly and took advantage of decisions going against Crusaders, including a penalty try, to take the lead.
Until the middle of the period both sides exchanged try scoring efforts but Vikings remained in the lead. With 20 minutes to go Vikings appeared to slow and with one of their halfbacks limping around the park (due to a dead leg), with no apparent replacement, Crusaders took advantage and started to claw the game back. Crusaders registered 3 unanswered tries to take the game 38 - 34, and remain unbeaten the their 2021 campaign.
Next up for Crusaders is an away trip to Whitley Bay Barbarians on Saturday.
Many thanks to our great support on Saturday, we hope you enjoyed the game!
CRUSADERS OPEN AGE OFF TO A WINNING START
May 08, 2021
On Saturday Crusaders Open Age team hosted league newcomers Friarage Falcons at Robertson Rd. Despite the rain the pitch was in superb condition and still firm under foot. Crusaders kicked the game off and the Falcons hit the line hard eventually breaking through only to be thwarted by flying winger Livai Suluqalo. It was around 10 minutes before anyone crossed the white wash and that honor went to Crusaders Player Coach Leigh Wheatley.
A short time later it was the turn of fellow Crusaders debutant Shaun Allen to crash over, Leigh Wheatley scoring the conversion. 10 nil to Crusaders.
As the rain abated Crusaders started to move the ball around and having hit the right edge, centre Pita Ratukadreu crashed through a couple of tackles to run the ball in for a converted try. It was only a short time later that Falcons got on the scoreboard with a try of their own bringing the score back to 16-4. Crusaders soon hit back with a try from Fred Work and a brace of tries from Livai Suluqalo taking the score to 30-4 to Crusaders.
In the second half, it didn’t take long for Crusaders to get back on the scoreboard and it was through half time substitute Samuela Sese. This was followed by quick tries from Fred Work and Shaun Nicholas. 44 - 4 to Crusaders.
Fred Work stepped his way through the line beat the fullback and with no one in front of him selflessly passed the ball to PJ Fincken-Hayes to get on the score board.
The next try came from Dan Bonham who was having a spell in the centres, however it was that man Fred Work that closed the scoring account for Crusaders.
FINAL SCORE 60-4 to Crusaders.