RUGBY LEAGUE: Champion Crusaders lift silverware as they eye Challenge Cup spot
PUBLISHED: 13:17 20 August 2018 | UPDATED: 09:57 21 August 2018
Hitchin-based rugby league side North Herts Crusaders are gunning for a spot in the code's prestigious Challenge Cup knock-out tournament after lifting silverware at the weekend.
North Herts Crusaders rugby league club are celebrating lifting two trophies on Sunday.
The club that play their matches at Old Hale Way in Hitchin lifted a unique double when their first and second teams won silverware.
In the prestigious East Premier Grand Final the champions crusaders beat off Bedford Tigers 36-12, while in the East Division 1 Grand Final, the second XI, the North Herts Knights beat Bedford Tigers A 32-22.
With both sides showing why the club has become the standout team in the east this year head coach Joe Holding told CometSport: “It’s been an honour to coach these lads, everything I’ve asked of them they’ve done.
“They’ve played hard for each other all season and to get the double grand final wins is the icing on the cake.
“Bedford pushed us hard all season so big credit to them. Also a big credit to everyone involved at Crusaders as they have worked hard behind the scenes to make the club so successful.”
Bedford’s Tigers battled hard against the undefeated Crusaders.
However, their rivals were determined not to lose their 100 per cent record on the biggest stage and turned on the style to run away in the final 20 minutes.
Ben Doughty showed how important he has become to the Crusaders, putting in a faultless performance and earning himself man of the match.
North Herts will now face Hammersmith in the Harry Jepson Trophy in two weeks time with a place in the world famous Rugby League Challenge Cup at stake.
Crusaders captain, Jared Scott said: “I’m so proud of the boys, we’ve worked hard as a unit all season and to go unbeaten in the league is testament to their effort and togetherness.”
The deserved victory was matched by the club’s second string prior to the game in the curtain raiser to the main event as Hem Johal controlled the attack from the halves, with a fantastic defensive second half performance from the Knights ensuring victory.
Knights captain Adam Naylor added: “I’ve loved captaining the second team this year and it’s an amazing feeling to have won the grand final, a lot of our players haven’t played rugby league before so hopefully this will give them a buzz to continue playing and tell their mates how good rugby league is.”