The All Golds put an end to their four match losing streak with a 40-22 victory over North Wales Crusaders.

This was the fourth time the teams have met in Cheltenham this season and it’s safe to say the Crusaders will be hoping it’s the last time, having lost three of the four encounters. The scoreline might suggest this was a comfortable win but it was anything but. Like several games this season the All Golds finished strongly in the final quarter, in fact it wasn’t until Malikhi Lloyd-Jones crashed over in the 73rd minute that the home side felt comfortable. The Crusaders, missing several big names, used only 15 players so it was understandable they tired late on.

“I felt we deserved the win in the end”, said Lee Greenwood. “First half we had to do plenty of defending because we were making so many mistakes, we must like defending! Crusaders broke through the middle a couple of times which was worrying but credit to our lads, they defended their line well.

“We finished the game strongly which was pleasing. We’ve done it a lot this season which shows all the work we did during pre-season is working. I can’t fault the effort and determination that the players have shown this season. It’s another win against a good northern side so we have to be happy.”

Both sides, obviously low on confidence after poor performances the week before, were guilty of making mistakes in a first quarter which saw three times as many scrums as completed sets. After winning a penalty for interference at the play-the-ball the Crusaders scored the first try of the game at the end of the first quarter when Ryan Millington broke the line and touched down. Danny Price added the extras to give the visitors a 6-0 lead.

The Golden Fern responded in fine style and were soon 12-6 ahead. Joe McClean popped up a superb offload for Phil Cowburn to gather and touch down before the impressive Kadeem Williams ran onto a Jack Mitchell pass to crash over. Both tries were converted by Jack Mitchell who had a great afternoon with the boot, missing only one of his seven conversions.

Crusaders levelled it up at 12-12 soon after when, off the back of a penalty, Alex Whalley found a gap in the home defence and scored.

It looked like that might be that as far as the first half went but just before the hooter Harry Kidd received a pass from Steve Parry and rolled his way over the whitewash. Mitchell converted to give the hosts an 18-12 half-time lead.

The see-saw nature of the game continued in the second half, Crusaders were back in it again after Kenny Baker did well to drag three defenders with him over the white wash. Price’s conversion slid wide which meant the home side had a narrow two point lead.

The All Golds responded with a brace of quick-fire tries. Steve Parry sent Chris Barlow over in the corner before the Welsh international scored a superb solo try after weaving his way through the Crusaders defence.

Twelve points ahead it looked like the home side had done enough but the visitors hit back to set up a tense final quarter. Matt Davies collected the ball 20 metres out before throwing a dummy which opened up a gap in the defence which he strolled through. Price converted to make it a six point game again.

The next score looked likely to be the winner, thankfully for the home supporters it was their team that got it. Parry, who covered every blade of grass in another fine performance, fed Malikhi Lloyd-Jones who smashed his way through the Crusaders defence to score his first try of the season. Mitchell converted to give his side a 34-22 lead with five minutes left.

Phil Cowburn, superb from the first minute to the last, scored his second of the game with just two minutes remaining after he collected a clever inside pass from Danny Fallon. Jack Mitchell made no mistake with the conversion as the home side could finally relax, knowing the game was won.

All Golds:

1 Phil Cowburn

2 Mo Agoro

3 Kadeem Williams

4 Lewis Reece

5 Chris Barlow

6 Jack Mitchell

7 Steve Parry

8 Harrison Elliott

9 Billy Brickhill

10 Malikhi Lloyd-Jones

11 Brad Hargreaves

12 Joe McClean

13 Chris Worrall

Subs (all used)

14 Danny Fallon

15 Ross Price

16 James Walter

17 Harry Kidd

Tries: Cowburn (21, 77), Williams (32), Kidd (38), Barlow (51), Parry (57), Lloyd-Jones (73)

Goals: Mitchell 6/7

 

North Wales Crusaders

2 Dave Eccleston

19 Daniel Price

10 Alex Davidson

28 Callum Mulkeen

27 Arron Moore

6 Andy Moulsdale

7 Ryan Smith

17 Kenny Baker

14 James Dandy

32 Warren Thompson

Alex Whalley

16 Luke Warburton

13 Ryan Millington

Subs

9 Lee Hudson

Jonny Leather (not used)

23 Matt Davies

Tries: Millington (19), Whalley (34), Baker (50), Davies (68)

Goals: Price 3/4

 

Penalty count: 6-5

Half-time: 18-12

Referee: M Rossleigh

Scoring sequence: 0-6, 6-6, 12-6, 12-12, 18-12, 18-16, 22-16, 28-16, 28-22, 34-22, 40-22

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