Rugby League: Rochdale Hornets 38 - 28 North Wales Crusaders

Date published: 28 June 2021

Rochdale Hornets managed to hold North Wales Crusaders at arm’s length in an entertaining affair at the Crown Oil Arena on Sunday (27 June). In a further injury blow to the club, new signing Rangi Chase had to leave the pitch during the first half with an arm injury - the club confirmed today (Monday) that the player's arm was broken and that he was due to have surgery.

Crusaders threatened a comeback in the period before half time thanks to two quick fire tries but a brace apiece from Fuifui Moimoi and Danny Yates helped guide Hornets to a long overdue victory as Hopwood Hall’s Dan Nixon and Rochdale Mayfield products Luke Fowden and Lewis Sheridan also crossed to shut out the Colwyn Bay outfit.

Hornets started the brighter of the two sides with Lewis Sheridan scoring first. He stepped into space and rounded the fullback and just minutes later Hornets put the ball through hands to find Dan Nixon by the flag who finished in an acrobatic fashion.

Hornets were cruising at 10-0 with good link up play on the flank between recent signings Rangi Chase and Paul Brearley pleasing the 1,300+ crowd before the former was forced from the field with a suspected broken arm, cutting short an impressive debut.

Crusaders hit back through Gavin Rodden thanks to a Hornets defensive mix up to narrow the margin to four.

Hornets responded as Ben Calland broke up the guts of the Crusaders defence to feed Yates in support who danced around a scrambling Welsh defence to score.

Hornets again stretched their lead through Luke Fowden who grabbed a short range score, leaving Zac Baker with a simple conversion.

With Hornets in total control they were unfortunate not to extend their lead through Callum Marriott who charged onto an offload but couldn’t maintain his grip of the ball to knock on over the line.

Crusaders replied with two tries in four minutes. The first came through former Hornet, Rob Massam who got the better of Lewis Sheridan and the second came through a break in a slack Hornets defence for Connor Aspey-Davies to score under the sticks. Tommy Johnson converted both to send Crusaders into the sheds just two points shy.

The second half started slow with both teams locked in the arm wrestle. Hornets looked to have cracked the Crusaders defence on a couple of occasions but Jordan Syme was held up over the line and minutes later a Paul Brearley try was pulled back for a forward pass.

Crusaders had an effort of their own ruled out as Massam looked to add to his tally before Fuifui Moimoi dragged five Crusaders defenders over the line to score. Josh Jordan-Roberts added the extras.

The Hornets score unlocked a tense period of football and allowed Crusaders to attack. They looked certain to narrow the deficit but superb Hornets scramble defence denied them a score.

Hornets turned defence into attack with Ben Moores and Brearley linking up to free the rangy second rower down the left channel. Yates again rushed on in support to score under the sticks.

Crusaders did get their score though through Chris Barret who made use of a stretched Hornets defence to barrel over and cut the deficit but Hornets responded in kind.

Fowden went close to a second score but off-loaded to Sean Penkywicz in support who fed Moimoi again who blasted over for his second of the afternoon. Zac Baker extended the lead but Crusaders had the final say with the tank on the flank, Rob Massam ghosting up the flank to score on the hooter.


Hornets: L. Sheridan, Ainscough, Calland, Syme, Nixon, Chase, Yates, Marriott, Moores, Jordan-Roberts, Brearley, Oakley, Baker, Penkywicz, Moimoi, Fowden, Forster.

Crusaders: Johnson, Ah Van, Morris, Reid, Massam, Billsborough, Gibson, Brennan, Ashall, Hazzard, Rodden, Eckley, Barratt, Davies-Aspey, Thornton, O’Hanlon, Cottington.

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