CORNWALL’S second-half comeback wasn’t enough as their historic first-ever match at North Wales Crusaders ended in defeat.

As far as introductions to League 1 go, a trip to North Wales was one of the most difficult Cornwall could’ve asked for.

After finding themselves 30-0 down within less than half an hour, it looked like it’d be a question of how many points Crusaders would rack up, but the visitors dug in and showed they’ll ask plenty of questions of a number of clubs in 2022.

Ultimately, though, North Wales always had too much for Cornwall and ended up securing a comfortable 62-22 victory.

The home side opened the scoring within four minutes as Gav Rodden broke the line and had the legs to round the fullback.

Crusaders then shifted play to the left flank for Rob Massam to cross in the corner, before the winger put Jordy Gibson over under the sticks.

Despite Callum Wood being sent to the sin-bin for a dangerous tackle, the hosts added another when Pat Ah Van’s offload put Rodden clear for his second.

After Massam set up Tommy Johnson for a try, Cornwall hit back as a nice offload put Matty Turton over in the left corner for the club’s first-ever try.

But North Wales rounded off the scoring for the half, with space opening up down the right for Harry Swarbrick to cross in the corner.

The first-half proved to be a baptism of fire for Cornwall, but they certainly didn’t give in and three tries early in the second period gave Crusaders a real scare.

After Harry Aaronson collected a loose pass from Jack Houghton to race clear, Liam Whitton broke through the line to cross next to the sticks.

And Sam Snell then barged his way over from close range to reduce the deficit to just 34-22, showing North Wales they had a game well and truly on their hands.

However, Crusaders assaulted the left edge once again for Ah Van to cross and that knocked the stuffing out of the visitors.

As the match entered the final quarter, Ah Van turned provider to put Massam over in the corner for his second, before Reece Briers profited from a dropped ball to grab his first try in Crusaders’ colours.

A nice break down the left through Ah Van and Rodden then saw Briers bag another within a couple of minutes.

It was evident that Cornwall were beginning to tire late on, as you’d expect for a side without any pre-season outings and playing together for the first time, and Brad Billsborough brushed off a couple of attempted tackles on his way to the line.

And space opened up down the right for Jack Holmes to round off the scoring for the afternoon.

CRUSADERS: 1 Tommy Johnson; 2 Scott Turner; 3 Harry Swarbrick; 4 Pat Ah Van; 5 Rob Massam; 6 Jordy Gibson; 7 Brad Billsborough; 8 Chris Barratt; 9 Callum Wood; 10 Callum Hazzard; 11 Gav Rodden; 12 Kieran Sherratt; 13 Matt Fletcher. Subs: 14 Reece Briers, 15 Connor Grainey, 16 Jack Houghton, 20 Jack Holmes.


CRUSADERS STAR MAN: Rob Massam looked sharp on his return to action and had a hand in a lot of what Crusaders did well.

West Wales Raiders slumped to a 52-12 defeat at home to Rochdale Hornets while Hunslet and Oldham drew 22-22.

Other results: Keighley 26 Doncaster 6; Midland Hurricanes 16 Swinton 54.