Triple delight for Crusaders plus Welsh Women prepare for Netherlands – Gwylio’r Cymry

Ian Golden and Harry Jones report on how our Welsh internationals and hopefuls performed last weekend. Photo: Phil Green Photography

North Wales Crusaders created their own piece of history at the weekend after their men, women and wheelchair sides won in the same weekend for the very first time.

The Wheelchair side secured a 73-39 victory on Saturday after overcoming Widnes Vikings in their first game of the Wheelchair Championship season. The Crusaders were led out by Stephen Halsey, who was making his 50 appearance for the side, becoming just the third player ever to do so. First half tries from Harry Jones, Jakub Wasieczko and Martin Turner, fresh from his Wales debut, were sadly not enough as Widnes took a 28-16 lead into the break. However, the Crusaders put on a show in the second half as Martin Turner crossed for his second, Matthew Turner and Wales co-captain Mason Baker all crossed before Halsey put on a scoring clinic, crossing for six tries. He also kicked 13 goals, which included one drop-goal.

Then on Sunday, Colwyn Bay hosted a successful double header as the club’s men and women won their matches. The men’s side was a League 1 fixture and it was a last-minute try that gave them a 34-32 victory over Workington Town, after being behind for much of the game. They were 32-22 down with ten minutes to go before a Ben Evans try sent them on their way, and then he created the winning try. The club’s women’s side played their first game of the season beating Telford Raiders 38-20 in a friendly.

Wales Women take on Netherlands this Saturday and many of the players warmed up for clash in the RFL Championship South, where London Broncos edged out Cardiff Demons 18-14. Kathryn Salter kicked a goal for London, whilst Emily Hughes, whose recovery from injury came too late for inclusion this coming Saturday, celebrated a come-back appearance after eight months out with a win. Brittony Price scored two for the Demons and Leanne Burnell one with Charlie Mundy kicking the goal. Lucia Davies, Seren Gough-Walters, Rhi Parker, Sara Jones, Jasmine Gibbons, Lauren Aitken, Bridget Jones, Ffion Jenkins and Katie Carr were the other capped players involved, plus Meg Whittaker, who hopes to make her Wales debut this Saturday. Also hoping to make her debut on Sunday is Huddersfield Giants’ Gracie Hobbs, who came on as substitute in their defeat at home to Leeds Rhinos.




Elsewhere in the Wheelchair game, Sunday saw six Wales internationals take to the field. Gary Preece led his Hereford Harriers side out in what was an absolute slaughtering of relegated Super League side, Warrington Wolves. In a game that was officiated by Welsh international, Harry Jones. The Harriers didn’t hold back as they came away 90-6 victors. The Welsh connection of Preece, Lee Sargent, Phil Davies and Alex Powell all proved to be the downfall of the Wolves. Powell and Sargent both dominated the wings, crossing for a hat-trick of tries each whilst Davies was able to cross for a solitary try. Preece was the player of the weekend as he was able to knock-up 50 of his sides 90 points, crossing for five tries, two drop-goals and the remainder of his points coming off the tee.

In the Wheelchair Super League, Jodie Boyd-Ward captained her Leeds Rhinos side in a highly entertaining 64-52 win against fiercest rivals, Halifax Panthers and she crossed for a hat-trick of tries. Mark Williams featured for Wigan Warriors in both their reserves and first team as they took on Hull FC in what turned out to be a very entertaining encounter. In the day’s opener, he scored a try and three conversions for the Warriors’ reserve team as they defeated Hull FC reserves, before coming off the bench in their win in Super League.

In the men’s Super League, Gil Dudson came off the bench for Salford Red Devils as they won at Warrington Wolves, and in the NRL, Bradman Best scored an excellent try against Penrith Panthers in a close encounter, but the premiers still sneaked a victory.

The Panthers of England, those at Halifax, also tasted victory away from home, in a game that was just as close as the one 10,000 miles away. Connor Davies was instrumental in his side’s victory at Barrow Raiders in the RFL men’s Championship. His twin Curtis Davies wasn’t so fortunate as Dewsbury Rams were beaten at home by York Knights. Rhodri Lloyd scored a try for Widnes Vikings at home to Wakefield Trinity, but couldn’t prevent a narrow 20-18 loss. Mike Butt, Matty Fozard and Ant Walker were also on the Widnes teamsheet. Rhys Williams was the same as Lloyd, scoring a try at home as his Swinton Lions side lost narrowly to Batley Bulldogs. Finally in this league, Caleb Aekins‘ Featherstone Rovers side lost at Sheffield Eagles.

In the final three games in League 1, Oldham held onto top spot with former Wales captain Craig Kopczak scoring a try in their win at Newcastle Thunder, for whom George Birch played. Hunslet are close on their heels and Jude Ferreira starred in their home win over Midlands Hurricanes. In the weekend’s final match, Cornwall, who fielded Matt Ross and Harry Boots, lost at home to Rochdale Hornets.