Ruthless Crusaders put Stags to the sword as Smith runs riot

Action from Hemel Stags' clash with Newcastle Thunder. Picture (c) Kevin Read
Action from Hemel Stags' clash with Newcastle Thunder. Picture (c) Kevin Read

Hemel Stags went down to their heaviest defeat since turning semi-professional as a sensational attacking display saw North Wales Crusaders hammer them 74-14.

The game was wrapped up by half-time for the Crusaders as they led 30-4, but they didn’t take their foot off the gas and went on to wrap up their biggest win of the season so far.

Jono Smith will get all the plaudits for his five tries in attack – a highly impressive tally for a second-rower – but his defensive effort was equally as good, and Crusaders were faultless throughout the side.

The hosts raced into an early 18-point with three quick-fire tries.

Ian Mort crossed for the opener down the right flank, before Gary Middlehurst sent Smith through the gap for his first try of the afternoon.

Then, when Jamie Dallimore put in a grubber kick on the last tackle, Rob Massam picked Mo Agoro’s pocket to rob the ball and touch down.

Hemel did hit back, however, as they shifted the ball with quick hands to the left wing for Alex Anthony to acrobatically finish in the corner.

But Crusaders soon restored their advantage as Smith ran on to a ball from Dallimore to find his way over.

Smith then prevented what looked to be a surefire try for Stags, before his side went up the other end on the hooter and Alex Thompson went over directly from scrum.

The hosts picked up where they left off in the second half as Hemel full-back Derrell Olpherts spilled Dallimore’s kick on the last, and Massam collected the pieces to score.

The Crusaders were back over the line again a couple of minutes later, with Smith stealing the ball off Olpherts to cross for his hat-trick.

Stags rallied and loanee Elliot Cogrove scored two well-worked tries on the left, with Jymel Coleman making one of the two difficult conversions.

Normal service was soon resumed, though, as Stephen Wild was next to get over for the hosts, before Smith went in for his fourth try in typical bulldozing fashion.

The best try of the afternoon came next through Massam, before Karl Ashall, Smith and Callum Wright completed the rout late on.