NORTH WALES CRUSADERS have maintained their excellent start to the League One season.

Following on from their opening day 40-16 success away to Cornwall, Crusaders made it two wins out of two with a hard-fought 20-14 triumph at home to Midlands Hurricanes.

Crusaders couldn’t have wished for a better start to the encounter and they claimed the lead in the seventh minute.

The ball was worked wide in attack and Pat Ah Van crossed in the corner for a try, while Owain Abel’s conversion attempt was narrowly off target.

Midlands looked to respond to this early setback and they forced the hosts into back-to-back goal-line drop-outs.

The defence remained solid, though, with Owain Abel scrambling to make a try-saving tackle in the 17th minute.

Ah Van looked for a further score a minute later, but he was eventually bundled into touch by the Midlands defence.

Hurricanes levelled things up in the 20th minute with strong play leading to Matty Welham bundling his way over the line. Dave Hewitt was unsuccessful with his conversion.

Crusaders’ response to this setback was first rate and they regained the advantage within five minutes.

Ryan Ellis grabbed his side’s second try and Abel was able to add the conversion points.

Hurricanes embarked on another period of pressure and it had to be Brad Billsborough who scored the next try!

Billsborough, a favourite over a number of seasons for the Crusaders, marked his return to North Wales by selling a dummy and making his way over the line for the score.

Hewitt added the conversion points and it was 10-10 at the interval.

North Wales started the second half well and they looked to be in for another score, but the Midlands defence forced a knock-on.

Cru regained the lead seven minutes after the restart and it was try-machine Carl Forster who continued his great start to the league season.

Player-coach Forster made it three tries in just two games and Abel added the two-pointer.

It was a close contest, but North Wales had some breathing space with a quarter-of-an-hour left.

Ah Van secured his second try of the afternoon to stretch the lead out to 10 points.

Midlands pressed for a route back into the contest in the closing stages and they forced the Crusaders into a couple of goal-line drop-outs.

Max Kirkbright set up a grandstand finish with his unconverted 78th minute try.

North Wales remained solid, though, to make it back-to-back wins to begin the league season.

Keighley Cougars made it three wins on the bounce to go top of the table after beating previously unbeaten Hunslet 42-14.