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.