Crusaders Match Report
Coventry Bears v North Wales Crusaders
MIKE HYDE, Butts Park Arena, Sunday16thJuly 3pm Kickoff
Coventry Bears 13 North Wales Crusaders 36
Bears off the boil against cruising ‘Cru’.
Coventry Bears, who have put up so many valiant battles this season were decidedly second best against a Crusaders team who have ended the regular season cruising into pole position prior to commencement of the League 1 Shield competition.
For Bears, the day was always about pride, putting on a show for the home faithful who again turned out in good numbersand good voice.
With two of their most promising youngsters, Jason Bass and Kieran Sherratt on duty for England in the Universities World Cup and other players sidelined, it was an opportunity to experiment and get the whole squad gelling better.
Crusaders kicked off, with the Bears appearing a little nervous in the first few minutes,losing possession twice through fumbles. However, they continued pressing but in doing so left themselves exposed to a long run down the middle as Crusaders broke from their half.
With numerical advantage and options available, it was Cru’s Taylor Frellwho put the ball down smack between the posts and Tommy Johnson easily converted with just six minutes gone.
Coventry’s response was strong but Crusaders defended well, shoving Mikey Russell into touch on one attack and holding Jack Morrison up as he crossed the line on another. On a good day that might have been twelve points in the bag, but luck simply did not seem to be on the Bears side.
However, Crusaders also showed some frailty and juggled clumsily with the ball on a couple of occasions, but were still defending well, until another mistake handed the ball to the Bears who were able to rapidly get it out to crowd pleaser JamahlHunte who gave one of his trademark runs as he went on to crossover on the far right.
Brad Delaney made no mistake with the conversion, and now at the midway point of the half the scores were equal; 6-6.Game on.
The two sides now appeared evenly matched, and neither could break through. Sensing that this may be a tight game, Jordon Gale took a drop to putthe Bears in the lead 7-6.
Then, with 37 minutes gone, Tommy Johnson replied for the Crusaders and converted as well. That Bears lead had proved short-lived.
In the past few games, Bears have started the second half well, but it was Crusaders who came out after the break the more energised of the two sides,and they came close to scoring within the first minute but a wayward pass to the winger ended in touch, to the relief and amusement of the Bears fans.
But then in the 46th minute, Cru added to the score with Joseph Bate powering over from close range, and Tommy Johnson converting, at which point the game was inexorably drifting away from the Butts Park side.
Somehow, The Bears then summoned up their energy to find a response, and pressed hard for three sets but were unable to break through and it was Crusaders who added to the scoreline with a flowing move releasing Earl Hunt on the left. Again, Tommy Johnson made no mistake from the conversion.
The North Wales outfit were now very much in the ascendency and continued to press, and the Bears beleaguered defence could not hold out indefinitely and Simon Atherton was next to score, and the ever-consistent Tommy Johnson added to his tally.
With eight minutes to go, Crusaders were now passing fluently from one side of the pitch to the other and Danny Price added to the Cru’s points haul with a well taken try, which Johnson easily converted.
With a minute remaining, Matt Reid’s try and Brad Delaney’s conversion made the final score more respectable for the home side. Too little, too late.
Final Score Coventry Bears13 North Wales Crusaders 36
1 Charlie O’Mara
7 Brad Delaney
8 Bradley Brennan
11 Matt Reid
13 Paddy Jones
14 Harry Chapman
15 James Kelly
16 John Aldred
17  James Guertjens
Tries;JamahlHunte  Matt Reid 
Goals; Delaney 2/2
Drop Goal; Jordan Gale
North Wales Crusaders
1 Tommy Johnson
2 Taylor Prell
3 Simon Atherton
4 Earl Hurst
5 Dale Bloomfield
6 Danny Price
8  Kenny Baker
9  James Dandy
10 Warren Thompson
11 Luke Warburton
12  Jack Houghton
14 Aaron Moore
15 Alex Whalley
16 Johnny Walker
17 Joseph Bate
Tries:Taylor Frell , Tommy Johnson , Joseph Bate , Earl Hurst  Simon Atherton , Dan Price 
Goals:Tommy Johnson 6/6
Scoring Sequence 0-6, 6-6, 7-6, 7-12
7-18, 7-24, 7-30, 7-36, 13-36