Newcastle Thunder were beaten by North Wales Crusaders for the second week in a row, this time at Queensway Stadium in Wrexham on Sunday.
The Crusaders ran out 30-14 winners after overturning an 8-6 half-time deficit. Mick Mantelli’s Newcastle side were outscored five tries to three and they will be looking to bounce back this Friday when they take on Barrow Raiders at Kingston Park.
Thunder got off to a great start in the tie as they went 8-0 up inside 19 minutes thanks to tries from Ali Blair and Lewis Young. They were in front going into the second half too, although it was only a slender lead after Alex Thompson’s converted try made it 8-6 to the visitors.
Two consecutive scores, either side of the hour mark, gave Crusaders their first lead of the match and they wouldn’t relinquish it. Simon Atherton and Tommy Johnson were the try-scorers for Mike Grady’s side, who have had Newcastle’s number over the past fortnight.
Benn Hardcastle’s try on 67 minutes put Thunder back in with a shout at 18-14 down but the hosts responded well and saw the game out with two more tries to their name. Lee Hudson and Jack Houghton both crossed the whitewash during the last five minutes of the match, ending any chance of a late surge from Newcastle.
Even with the loss, Newcastle are still fourth in the Championship but their next opponents, Barrow, sit second with four wins from four. North Wales are still outside of the playoffs but have shown signs of progress in recent weeks, to the detriment of Thunder.