DEWSBURY CELTIC 12 CRUSADERS COLTS 66 - By Phil Caplan at Crow Nest Park
Crusaders Colts, with 16 Welshmen in their side, made a hugely impressive debut in the Co-operative Conference National with the away side running in 13 tries to overwhelm their old-established rivals, winning 66-12 on Saturday.
Fielding some of the best young talents from the principality as well as an ex gridiron performer from France, the Colts delighted their coach Dan Clements with a comprehensive display in their first hit out.
Rampaging second rower Lewis Fox and speedy winger Elliott Kear led the way for the visitors with hat-tricks but it was Philippe Gardent who Clements picked as his star performer.
"Phil was superb," he said, about a player who was starting a rugby league match for the first time. "Every time he touched the ball, he was outstanding.
"He left the defence behind on every play with his strength and skill and was fast as well.
"This was an outstanding performance from us. The team was formed to develop young Welsh rugby league talent and we saw a lot of that on show today.
"It was a good start and the future for the Crusaders and rugby league in Wales looks promising if this display is anything to go by."
The game was dominated by the Crusaders from the start with Fox having the honour of posting the inaugural try in the colours, Lee Williams adding the first of his seven goals.
Four minutes later, Kear went over out wide and a handling error by the hosts saw Fox in again, by the posts to make it 16-0.
An experienced Dewsbury outfit - featuring a former Leeds Super League centre pairing - scored their only try of the first half on the 20th minute, when Tim Land sent Aidan Anderson in at the corner.
But the Crusaders ran in tries from Gardent with a brace, Lee Williams, Gary Williams, and a second for Kear in a blistering spell to make it 38-4 at the break.
There was parity at the start of the second period, Dewsbury using the slope to their advantage to gain some territorial dominance but Fox and Kear both claimed quick fire hat tricks to leave the visitors in total charge before Dewsbury winger Anderson claimed his second try.
Lee Williams scored between the posts, ending with a personal 22 point haul and bringing up the half century, and the Crusaders added two more touchdowns from Steve Williams and Gil Dudson; the home side replying with a third unconverted, consolation try from full back James Eatherley.
GAME STAR - French prop Phil Gardent in his first start after switching from American football gave hope to Dwain Chambers with a dominating display.
GAME BREAKER - Colts' blistering start which saw them 16 points up inside 12 minutes proved too much for Dewsbury to handle.
DEWSBURY CELTIC 1 James Eatherley 2 Richard Tillotson 3 Paul Gledhill 4 Marvin Golden 5 Aiden Anderson 6 Terry Maun 7 Rob Senior 8 Tim Land 9 Andrew Corrigan 10 Ian Wilson 11 Paul Heaton 12 Ben Hardacre 13 Kiel Fox Subs (all used) 14 Matt Clark 15 Andrew Gibson 16 Jamie Wilkinson 17 Ian Bottomley
Tries: Anderson 2, Eatherley
CRUSADERS COLTS 1 Ashley Bateman 2 Elliot Kear 3 Gary Williams 4 Lee Williams 5 Owen Lewis 6 Steve Williams 7 Aled James 8 Geraint Davies 9 Tom Burnell 10 Philippe Gardent 11 Lewis Fox 12 Ben Flower 13 Chris Vitalini Subs (all used) 14 Gil Dudson 15 Barrie Phillips 16 Mark Wool 17 Lewis Mills
Tries: Fox 3, Kear 3, Gardent 2, L.Williams 2, G.Williams, S.Williams, Dudson Goals: L.Williams 7
Men of the match: DEWSBURY CELTIC - Aiden Anderson CRUSADERS COLTS - Philippe Gardent Half time: 4-38 Referee: Jonathan Roberts