FINDING ways to win tight encounters is always a good trait to have.

That was the case for North Wales Crusaders when they saw off Midlands Hurricanes 20-14 at Colwyn Bay’s Stadiwm CSM, but player-coach Carl Forster is looking for his team to respect the ball more as things develop this season.

“They slowed us down pretty well,” Forster told the club’s Facebook page after Crusaders made it two wins from two League One matches this season.

“They committed bodies to the ruck, but I think we’ve just got to be better respecting the ball and we had a game plan and I think we stuck to it, especially that first 20 minutes.

“We’re six-nil up, cruising. I think we’ve just got to be more disciplined on executing areas like that.

“But, end of the day, we showed up in defence and we kept them out.”

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.

“I thought we started the game quite well,” admitted Forster. “The first 20 minutes, we completed every single set and then come up with Reidy (Matt Reid) and Pat (Ah Van), uncharacteristic error in yardage and then we ended up defending our own line five sets on the run.

“So, just little things like that can turn games. Little errors that can put you on the back foot, but I thought it was that last 20 minutes, you know, when we did that error and we just couldn’t kind of get out of that rut.”

Hurricanes levelled things up in the 20th minute with Matty Welham’s try, before Crusaders regained the advantage within five minutes through Ryan Ellis’ try, converted by Owain Abel.

Ex-Crusader Brad Billsborough’s try, converted by Dave Hewitt, made sure it was level at the break, but second half tries from Forster and Ah Van eventually won it for the home side.

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

But North Wales remained solid to make it back-to-back wins as they moved into third spot behind Keighley and Oldham.

“I think fair play to Midlands, they put us in tough situations,” added Forster. “But, we responded well overall and just defensively, I thought we were outstanding.”

One concern for the Crusaders was seeing Ben Evans coming off through injury during the game.

Welsh international Evans was seen on crutches after the match and Forster is hopeful the injury isn’t too serious.

He said: “I spoke to Ben after the game. He was pretty positive.

“I think the crutches were obviously precautionary, but we’ll wait and see.

“See how it responds over the next 24 hours and obviously we’ll go from there.”

Crusaders are at home again this Sunday for their meeting with Newcastle Thunder, who are still seeking their first League One triumph of the campaign.