NORTH WALES CRUSADERS endured a punishing start to their League One campaign in a heavy 48-18 defeat at Workington Town.

The hosts opened the scoring early on when Gordon Maudling hit a good line and crashed over from close range.

Town quickly doubled their lead when Sean Penkywicz collected the ball out wide, cut inside and fed Oliver Wilkes who crossed the line.

The response from Crusaders was positive, however, and they pulled one back when Warren Thompson managed to free the ball near the posts for Jack Houghton to touch down.

And the Cru levelled a couple of minutes later as Warren Thompson broke the line on halfway and found Danny Price in support to finish off the move.

The visitors then gained the lead for the first, with Kenny Baker kicking a penalty goal from in front of the sticks.

Workington grabbed two tries in the final stages of the first-half, however, to go in to the break 24-14 ahead.

Penkywicz handed the ball on to Perry Singleton for the centre to cross out wide, before Jamie Doran exploited a gap in Crusaders’ defence to touch down under the posts.

The hosts asked plenty of questions of North Wales early in the second-half and the pressure told eventually.

After Town had put in a grubber towards the right corner, the ball came free and Andy Dawson collected to finish out wide.

Karl Ashall protested the decision and was sent to the sin-bin for 10 minutes for dissent.

However, Crusaders defended resolutely with 12 men and pulled one back through Joe Connor.

There was no comeback, though, as Workington showed their quality late on to kill the game with Penkywicz and Danny Tickle and Tyllar Mellor all crossing for late scores.