Challenge Cup Report – North Wales Crusaders 30 Hunslet 8

Jordan Gibson scored a hat-trick of tries as North Wales Crussders booked their place in the Betfred Challenge Cup Fifth Round with an impressive 30-8 win over Hunslet at Caldy RFC in the Wirral on Saturday afternoon.

It was the first professional Rugby League match to be played on the Wirral since 1904 and – with the Challenge Cup trophy itself in attendance – North Wales began the game on top as Jordan Gibson grabbed his first with four minutes played.

Brad Billsborough converted the first of what would be five goals from five attempts on the afternoon for a 6-0 lead.

Jason Mossop struck back on 13 minutes for the visitors with an unconverted try, but Crusaders added a second try through Alex Eckley soon after, before Gibson got his second try just before the break.

Billsborough made no mistake with the boot, though Hunslet did give themselves some hope seconds before the half time whistle, Jack Render scoring an unconverted try to leave the home side 18-8 ahead.

That’s how the score remained in a second half where defences were on top until North Wales added a fourth with ten minutes to play, Gibson turning creator to send Hazzard in.

Gibson then put the result beyond doubt with six minutes to play – Billsborough got both goals to round off a fine 30-8 win and seal their Round 5 place.

North Wales Crusaders: Tommy Johnson; Patrick Ah Van, Harry Swarbrick, Gav Rodden, Jack Holmes; Brad Billsborough, Jordan Gibson; Callum Hazzard, Pat Rainford, Chris Barratt; Kieran Sherratt, Alex Eckley; Matt Fletcher.

Interchanges: Paul Nash, Brad Brennan, Jack Houghton, Ryan Millington.

Hunslet: Jimmy Watson; Jordan Paga, Jack Render, Jason Mossop, Kiedan Hartley; Joe Sanderson, Jack Mallinson; Duane Straugheir, Wayne Reittie, Sam Moorhouse; Josh Jordan-Roberts, Joe Summers; Matthew Stableford.

Interchanges: Cameron Berry, Harvey Hallas, Ethan O’Hanlon, Charley Bodman.