17/7/11 Crusaders 20 Castleford 26 Wrexham
This fixture turned out to be the last match Crusaders played before the grim reaper tolled the death knell on their SL existence. It might turn out to be the last match they ever play.
They welcomed back seven players who were suspended for breaking the clubs disciplinary code which seems laughable now but they were keen to get some wins under their belt before the end of the season. Castleford were without star player Rangi Chase through suspension but welcomed back ex-Crusader Nick Youngquest after a long injury break
Castleford opened the scoring through Jordan Thompson before Jason Chan, Lloyd White and Jordan Tansey gave Crusaders a 14-6 half time lead although they were clearly the better side and were very unlucky to see two tries disallowed by the video ref especially one by Stuart Reardon in the corner.
After the break Youngquest and Jarrod Sammut swapped tries while Crusaders continued to dominate. Ryan O'Hara was unlucky to have another try disallowed by the video referee but they could not open up the decisive lead they deserved. A good try by on-loan prop Ben Davies converted by Kirk Dixon made the score 20-18 and fellow on-loan prop Rob Parker seemed as surprised as everybody else when he scored the match winning try in the final minutes.
Crusaders coach Iestyn Harris was clearly frustrated and he said "it is extremely disappointing because I was expecting us to kick away in the second half. We just kept giving them opportunities. The players are upset in there and we can't blame anyone else but ourselves" Ironic words
Castleford coach Terry Matterson seemed embarrassed to win after his team played so badly and he said after the match "we played dumb and I feel for the Crusaders, I really do." If only he knew
A crowd of 3055 is very modest by SL standards but the Crusaders have a nice stadium and a hard core bunch of loyal fans who have been treated very badly. It could be argued that these fans were growing in number and they will now be lost to the game. Probably true but you could say the same about Gateshead Thunder, Paris St Germain and other missed opportunities. The Crusaders were talismen for Welsh RL and who can predict what will happen now bearing in mind the importance of the upcoming Four Nations and the 2013 World Cup.