A LONG away day will open the 2024 League One season for the North Wales Crusaders.

Carl Forster will take his side south to tackle Cornwall on March 24, 2024.

Cornwall will complete the regular season for the Crusaders as they head to Colwyn Bay’s Stadiwm CSM on September 1.

The first home game of the season will be versus Midlands Hurricanes on Easter Sunday, while April will open with some real tests for the Crusaders as they tackle the two sides who were relegated from the Championship last season. On April 7, Forster’s men will welcome Newcastle Thunder and this is followed seven days later by a trip to west Yorkshire to tackle Keighley Cougars.

A testing month will draw to a close with a home clash versus Rochdale Hornets (April 21) and an away contest versus Hunslet (April 28).

The full fixture list is available for viewing on the Crusaders’ website.

There has been further good news when it comes to players.

Crusaders are delighted to secure the services of 29-year-old Jack Holmes until the end of the 2024 season.

Holmes, who counts Oldham and Rochdale as former clubs, initially joined North Wales in 2021 and he has enjoyed three good campaigns with the side.

He has scored seven tries in his 38 appearances to date.

Holmes is a vital part of the Cru squad and he has turned out in a number of positions for the side, including wing, centre, full back and half back.

He told the club’s website: “Really pleased to have signed for Crusaders again this season.

“Every year I’ve been here we seem to be going that one step further.

“I’m looking forward to contributing to hopefully another successful year.

“Both the home and away following from the fans is unbelievable, it really doesn’t go unnoticed by the lads.”

Head coach Forster added: “Jack’s a top utility player who adds depth in many positions, this year is about finding Jack’s best position and him making it his own.

“He’s got a real top skill set on him and knows how to play the game how we want to.”

Meanwhile, Crusaders have announced the capture of 18-year-old Joe Baldwin.

The loose forward, a product of Orrell St James, signed professionally for Wigan Warriors in 2019, while he has represented Lancashire at U18s’ level.

Baldwin said: “Really excited to have signed with the club after four years at Wigan.

“I’m ready for the challenge of proving myself at men’s grade rugby.

“The coaching staff and how well the club did last year was a big factor for me joining the club.

“I’m hoping the lads can go that one step further this year and secure promotion as well as developing my own game under Carl Forster and Stu (Simmons).”

Forster said: “Joe is a real talent, he’s come in and looked really sharp at nine.

“You can tell he’s come from a Wigan system, he’s a real competitor in everything he does in training.

“He can play nine and middle so he gives us good versatility in the pack. I’m excited to see him develop in a Crusaders shirt.”