BRAVE North Wales Crusaders just failed in their efforts to secure promotion to the Championship - but the confidence they’ve gained from their run in the play-offs will be a huge boost going into next season.

Carl Forster’s charges gave their all during yesterday’s huge League One play-off final away to Doncaster, who claimed a 18-6 success.

Doncaster claimed the lead after 14 minutes.

Mahe Fonua crossed in the corner for the home side and Connor Robinson was on the money with the conversion attempt.

Seven minutes later and Doncaster were awarded a penalty for a late tackle and Robinson’s kick was successful once more to stretch the gap out to eight points.

Crusaders made a number of interchanges after this in an effort to turn the momentum.

There was a positive start to the second half from the Crusaders and after a good set, Rainford lost the ball when he attempted to put it down.

Doncaster had a spell of pressure themselves, with Robinson’s kick forcing a goalline drop out from the visitors.

Then, on 50 minutes, the hosts went close to grabbing their second try, however the determined Crusaders’ defence held them up over the line.

Cheered on by a huge following of supporters, Crusaders looked for a route back into the match as the half continued.

But, with 13 minutes left to play, Doncaster gained the second try to effectively put the seal on promotion.

Robinson set up Loui McConnell to touch down at the posts and the try was duly converted.

Crusaders have refused to throw in the towel throughout the play-offs and the grand final was no different.

With nine minutes left, Toby Hughes crossed for his side’s first try of the contest, which was converted by Leon Hayes.

However, Sam Smeaton’s 76th minute try made sure Doncaster had the final word.

For Crusaders’ coach Forster, the end-of-season run has seen the players in a relaxed frame of mind - and it’s finally given Matt Reid a reason to be cheerful in the play-offs!

Forster told CruCast: “We joked about it, don’t get me wrong, when we went to Workington.

“The lads were on about the play-off record and I think Matty Reid he’d played in seven games for Cru in the play-offs and never won one.

“So, you know, we did joke about it, but we’ve always had belief in the group.”

Sophie Robinson scored a dramatic golden point try to secure a women’s Grand Final rematch between Leeds Rhinos and York Valkyrie next month.

Robinson dropped onto Caitlin Casey’s kick to the corner as the Rhinos recovered from a 10-point deficit early in the second half to triumph 20-16 in the extra period.

York had earlier eased past Wigan 22-6.