Head coach Anthony Murray hails North Wales Crusaders after draw at York City Knights


Charlie Croasdale

NORTH WALES CRUSADERS’ 16-16 draw at York City Knights proves there’s life left in the Wrexham-based side.

That is the view of head coach Anthony Murray, who saw his outfit lead for 79 minutes of the tense encounter, before conceding a last-gasp try which cost Crusaders what would have been a valuable League One victory.

However, Murray refuses to be downhearted after the result, with a point at Bootham Crescent leaving Crusaders ninth in the standings, just a point away from a spot in the top eight.

It rounds off a good three-week period for The Racecourse outfit, who defeated Hemel Stags 38-10 before completing a 40-18 home victory over Oxford, with several key players including Stephen Wild and Stuart Reardon also returning to action.

“It was really pleasing, to lead for 79 minutes at York is a fantastic effort by all our lads,” Murray explained.

“For me it proves there’s life in this Crusaders team and hopefully we can use this performance as an example of the levels we should be hitting every week.

“It came as no surprise to me as I knew we had a big performance in us if we eradicated some of the errors in our game from previous weeks.

“We knew if we gave away as many penalties as we had been doing we’d be on the end of a hiding and if you let York have too much time in possession there will only be one outcome.

“If we kept getting turned over we’d have been in trouble but we only gave away five penalties all game and had a conversion rate of 70 per cent so it was all very positive.

“York are without doubt one of the favourites to finish the League One season in the top four, so to go there and lead for nearly all the game, it shows how far we’re developing as a squad.”

Murray highlighted the performance of Jack Hansen as ‘outstanding’ after the half-back stepped in at the last-minute for the injured Andy Moulsdale, who has been suffering with discomfort in his shins but is thought to be on the road to recovery ahead of the next game at South Wales Scorpions on June 5.

“Jack came in late on but he showed the reason why you must prepare as if you were starting because he was drafted in and produced a man of the match display,” Murray added.

“Jack’s kicking game allowed us to get a grip of the game and he was outstanding throughout. Lee Hudson pushed him close for man of the match, Lee’s energy and work rate typified what we’re all about.

“Scott Turner, Rob Massam and Tommy Johnson were all once again in fine form in the back row and for me they are as good a trio there as there is in this league. I wouldn’t swap them with anyone, they offer us so much.

“Andy is experiencing some discomfort in his shins again but we’re hoping it’s only short term and he’ll be back before too long.”

- Crusaders are holding a testimonial for long-serving full-back Stuart Reardon on Sunday. Cru will take on West Bowling at Queensway Stadium, Wrexham, with kick off at 2pm. 

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