League 1 Preview: North Wales Crusaders v Hemel Stags

Date: Saturday 16th May

Venue: Racecourse Ground, Wrexham

Kick-off: 2.30pm


North Wales Crusaders picked up only their second win of the season last week in a 50-18 Welsh derby victory over South Wales Scorpions.

This week they will host Hemel Stags who were put to the sword by Newcastle Thunder in a 58-12 defeat in their previous fixture.

Crusaders coach Anthony Murray enjoyed his side’s first taste of a derby as 1,025 fans turned out to watch the South take on the North.

“It was our first derby of the season; there were over a thousand people there and everyone bought into the occasion,” he commented.

“I was glad that we were on the right side of the result.”

Despite his side’s big victory and his opponents heavy defeat Murray isn’t taking the game lightly and is wary of Hemel’s threat, as he is looking for his side to take some momentum into the iPro Sport League 1 Cup final.

“It’s going to be another tough encounter this weekend, Hemel are a big physical side. You can’t really predict how they’re going to play, they’re really an ‘off the cuff’ type of team.

“We’ve come up with a couple of good wins and we need to keep focused and moving forward. We want that momentum to carry on into the Blackpool game.”

Stags’ boss Troy Perkins was obviously disappointed with his side’s display against Newcastle and was also hit with the loss of Jamie O’Callaghan, who could be out for the rest of the season with a dislocated shoulder.

“We conceded 40 points in the first half and that’s just not good enough,” explained the Hemel chief.

“A couple of things went against us but it’s unacceptable. Newcastle are a good team but we need to be a lot better.”

There is no let off this week as they come up against a strong Crusaders outfit, and Perkins is looking for his side to give a good account of themselves and improve on the areas they have been poor in so far this season.

“It doesn’t get any easier going up to North Wales. They’re coming off a back of a couple of wins so it’s going to be another tough test. We’ve just got to front up and give ourselves a chance. We haven’t given ourselves a chance against the better teams this season because of our defence and lack of concentration at times.”

Prediction: With the iPro Sport Cup Final on the horizon Crusaders will be at their best and ready to battle for the first silverware of the season. Crusaders by 20.

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