North Wales Crusaders 48 - Hornets 0
North Wales Crusaders are way too good for Championship 1. We know this, not because of their thumping win against a disjointed, undercooked Hornets, but because everyone associated with the club tells you so at every possible opportunity. One bloke told me that they were 'too good this division' whilst I was having a piss at half-time.
On this bulldozing performance, Welsh Urinal Bragging Man was right on the money. From 1 to 17 they out-thought, ou-powered and out-played their Hornets opposite numbers. But whilst spending most of the first 40 minutes in scrambling retreat or on thwarted advance, Hornets desperately clung to the game. Like a drowning man clutching a piece of wreckage, they hung on for dear life in the face of a potential torrent.
Crusaders opened the scoring after 10 minutes when Dallimore ran off a Moulsdale break to score under the black dot. Five minutes later, the home side capitalised on cheap possession from a first tackle knock-on, Johnson drawing defenders before slipping an inside ball to Adamson. On 35 minutes, Massam grabbed his first, supporting a Bannister break to score out wide. Half time 16-nil.
Despite failing to create a single chance in 40 minutes, Hornets were somehow in contention, but needed to score first if they were to keep a fast-fading foothold on the game.
However, within four minutes of the restart Brown had sent Moulsdale in for the try that effectively opened the floodgates. Indeed, the more Hornets strove, the worse things got. With the home side's super-sized pack pounding out the hard-yards in centre field, the tries began arriving at regular intervals. Bannister on 52 minutes, a Massam double in the 65th and 72 minutes. Hard to watch.
Whilst pretty much out played in every aspect, Hornets did fall foul of some refereeing aberrations. Two late tries from Massam from outrageously forward passes stretched the scoreline further as the home fans wet themselves with delight.
As it was, Hornets went down not with a bang, but with a whimper. Failing to create a single, meaningful break in 80 minutes is that hardest thing to take about this. Yes, both Wayne English and Dom Speakman were held-up over the line from determined solo surges. And yes, a raft of injuries has seen a settled line-up shuffled and disrupted. But the lack of that killer-pass or kick that can crack a determined defence cruelly exposed Hornets' lack of a Plan-B when things begin to drift.
For the Hornets faithful who arrived strung-out after horrendous traffic probems en-route, this was painful to behold. And, whilst there was little if anything to sing about for us, you can't deny that, backed by their army of noisy fans, Crusaders do create an atmosphere. Sadly, it's one of entitlement, arrogance and hubris.
1 Wayne English
2 Gareth Langley
16 Danny Davies
23 Dave Hull
5 Dave Sutton
6 Paul Crook
32 Danny Yates
8 John Cookson
31 Chris Hough
29 Carl Forster
11 Chris Baines
13 Jordan Case
26 Dave Llewellyn
28 Jordan Hand
24 Mark Goodman
30 Dom Speakman
10 Matty Crow