Challenge Cup Report: Rochdale Mayfield 6-64 North Wales Crusaders

North Wales Crusaders ran riot in the second-half as they scored seven tries in a 16-minute spell to beat Rochdale Mayfield and book their place in the fourth round of the Challenge Cup.

Mayfield pushed Crusaders all the way in the first-half and would have felt unfortunate to find themselves 16-0 down at half-time.

But North Wales were ruthless in the second period, with Gav Rodden scoring three times after the break to add to his effort in the first-half.

Whenever Crusaders pushed forward, they looked extremely dangerous and tiring Rochdale side simply couldn’t handle the Welshmen.

North Wales did have their chances early on, particularly down the right edge, but the home side scrambled excellently in defence at times.

Crusaders’ pressure did tell eventually, though, as space opened up down the same flank for Jordy Gibson to put Gav Rodden over from close range.

With half-time fast approaching and it looking like Mayfield would trail by just four points, the visitors struck twice late on in what turned out to be a real sucker punch.

Welsh international Elliott Jenkins supported Gibson’s break after the halfback came up with a nice show-and-go to catch Rochdale’s defence off-guard.

Jenkins then turned provider as a perfectly-weighted short ball put Kieran Sheratt in for a try underneath the sticks.

Rochdale continued to put up a good fight in the early stages of the second half, but North Wales extended their lead when Rob Massam profited from a loose pass to dive over in the left corner.

Mayfield responded instantly, though, as they regained the kick-off and forced a repeat set, with veteran Chris Hough scooting over from acting half.

But there was nothing the hosts could do as Crusaders ran riot in that impressive 16-minute spell.

Brad Billsborough forced his way over underneath the sticks, before Rodden collected a Rochdale error and showed plenty of pace to run the length of the field.

Rodden then completed his-trick, hitting a nice line to collect Gibson’s pass from close range.

Jack Holmes, one of seven debutants for the away side, crossed for two tries in three minutes, taking advantage of acres of space down the right.

Rodden managed to grab his fourth with another length of the field effort, before Jenkins flung a delightful offload out to Massam, who collected on the wing to dot the ball down and complete the afternoon’s scoring.

1 Ieuan Higgs
2 Wayne Bannister
3 Jack McConachie
4 Lewis Butterworth
5 Munya Samanyanga
6 Chris Hough
7 Cole Connolly
8 Simon Moore
9 Harry McDonald
10 Shaun Hurley
11 Rob Kershaw
12 Sean Mulcahy
13 Aidan Gleeson
14 Corey Newsham
15 Nick Hargreaves
16 Mark Biggins
17 Andrew Taylor

Tries: Hough (52)
Goals: Connolly 1/1

1 Tommy Johnson
2 Dave Eccleston
3 Jack Holmes
4 Earl Hurst
5 Rob Massam
6 Steve Roper
7 Jordy Gibson
8 Brad Brennan
9 Brad Billsborough
10 Warren Thompson
11 Kieran Sherratt
12 Gav Rodden
13 Chris Barratt
14 Elliott Jenkins
15 Ryan Millington
16 Jack Cottington
17 James Tilley

Tries: Rodden (21, 60, 64, 72), Jenkins (36), Sherratt (40), Massam (48, 74), Billsborough (58), Holmes (66, 69)
Goals: Johnson 10/11

Referee: Steve Race
HT: 0-16
Attendance: 229

Crusaders MOTM: Gav Rodden – playing in the semi-professional ranks for the first time in 2020, the second rower scored four tries on his competitive debut for Crusaders

Report by Ryan Gould.