North Wales Crusaders won the iPro Sport Cup this afternoon in Blackpool, defeating Swinton Lions 14-8 in an entertaining game at Bloomfield Road.
It is the second trophy won by the Crusaders, who defeated London Skolars at Halifax in 2013 to win the Northern Rail Bowl.
Swinton took the lead after eleven minutes when Shaun Robinson managed to touch down a Ritchie Hawkyard grubber into the corner, and Chris Atkin added the conversion.
And the Lions went further ahead on 22 minutes, when they were awarded a penalty in a kickable position, and Atkin was able to add the goal.
Few spectators at that point would have guessed that the Lions would score no more points, however, as the Crusaders slowly came back into the game.
The Welsh side finally got on the scoreboard on 32 minutes, when great play by Tommy Johnson and Alex Thompson saw Scott Turner going over the line, with Johnson converting from the touchline, although he couldn’t add a penalty awarded to the Crusaders minutes before the interval.
The Crusaders drew level after 45 minutes when Johnson converted a penalty for a high tackle in front of the posts, although he failed to convert another penalty shortly afterwards that had also been given for a high tackle.
The Welsh side finally took the lead on 66 minutes, when halfback Jamie Dallimore scored a fine individual try in the corner, and Johnson again was able to add a touchline conversion.
In a nervous final ten minutes, Dallimore tried to secure the game for the Crusaders but failed with his drop-goal attempt, while the Lions responded with a 70-metre dash downfield, but they knocked on from the play-the-ball, and the game ended when the Lions gifted the ball to the Crusaders with a forward pass in the final minute of the game.
A full report and photos will feature in Monday’s edition of Rugby League Express.