Leigh East 6 Crosfields 28
CROSFIELDS’ perfect start to life in Division Two of the National Conference League continued with a hard-fought win against near neighbours Leigh East.
Nathan Taylor, Chris Dean, Joe Clarke and Ash Cornelia crossed for Soap, with skipper Jack Reid adding four conversions and two penalties.
Fresh from a crushing win over Salford City Roosters last time out, Mark Brennan’s side made the perfect start on East’s synthetic surface when Taylor latched onto Reid’s chip to score his fourth try in two games.
The hosts then enjoyed a good spell of pressure on the Soap line, but excellent defence kept them at bay until the game was halted when East skipper Dean Balmer suffered a horrific injury.
A 40-minute stoppage ensued as an ambulance was called to respond to Balmer’s dislocated and broken ankle, after which East continued to pressurise the visitors.
However, it was Soap who broke free and grabbed a crucial score on the stroke of half time when Chris Hull broke the line and found Dean in support to give the visitors a comfortable 12-point lead at the interval.
Reid slotted a penalty to give Crosfields more control just after the break before East’s William Bishop was sin-binned.
Soap made the most of their numerical advantage with two tries. Clarke was able to cross between the sticks before Hayden James’ dart from dummy-half allowed Cornelia to weave his way through to put the game to bed.
East finally got on the scoresheet with seven minutes remaining when Ben Parry finished off a nice move, but Reid was able to add another penalty with time running out to complete the scoring.
Brennan’s men welcome East Leeds to Hood Lane on Saturday, kick off 2.30pm.
Crosfields: Ash Cornelia; Kieran Thomas, Nathan Taylor, Chris Hull, Dan Reid; Jack Reid, John Whittaker; Phil Brazendale, Hayden James, Dave Boden, Scott Cullen, Chris Dean, Joe Clarke. Subs: Lewis Bani, Matt Barber, Tom Brown, Tom Millington.