The Crusaders opened their spring season against rivals division 1 club the Detroit Tradesmen, who returned to playing matches after a long layoff due to Covid.
Both clubs came out excited for the matchup and with something to prove and it showed through in the high level of physicality displayed throughout the match.
The Tradesmen looked a little rusty to start after not playing a match for over a year, and the Crusaders were able to capitalize early through two well worked forwards tries scored by Hooker Collin DeOcampo and Prop Chris Fischer. Both tries were converted by Fly Half Nick Viviani for a 14-0 lead. Shortly after Viviani was able to convert 40+ meter penalty kick to move up to a 17-0 lead.
As has happened many times in the past, the Tradesmen seemed to energized by this and started chipping away at the Crusaders lead, they scored two converted tries out wide before halftime and closed the gap to 17-14 at halftime.
Shortly after halftime a miscommunication in the backline allowed Detroit to take the lead 21-17. Instead of falling apart, the Crusaders were able to tighten things down and regain the lead through a nice pick off by wing Alex Dine, converted by Viviani to regain the lead 24-21.
From here it was all Crusaders to close out the match with a nice set piece play for a try under the sticks by center Zach Forro. With a few minutes left on the clock, impact sub Jake Fuchs scored off a nice run to close out the match 38-21 for the Crusaders.
The division three Crusaders looked to follow up on the success in the first match and jumped out to a 19-0 lead on the strength of tries by Scrum Half Ryan Sands, and Newcomers Wing Sean O’Brien and Fullback Hunter Simons. Two of the tries were converted by Fly Half Joe Wollerman.
The Tradesmen were able to regroup and score two tries via their backline to close the gap to 19-14, before the Crusaders were able to score another try by Lock Woody Woodruff to move up to 24-14.
With some shakes up due to injury the Crusaders has some defensive miscues that allowed the Tradesmen to covert two penalty kicks along with a try to take a 27-24 lead late into the match.
Great interplay between Wing Andy Davis and Scrum Half/ Wannabe Jedi Ryan Sands allowed the Crusaders to score what looked to be the go ahead try and take the lead 29-27. With one chance left to score the Tradesman scored a heartbreaking try for the win with no time left.
While the second side wasn’t able to get the win it was very exciting and encouraging to see many new players step in a perform at a high level, the future definitely appears bright!
Man of the Match for the First Match was given to Wing Alex Dine who scored a nice try and had many other nice runs and tackles during the match.
Jake Garver was awarded Man of the Match for the second match, along with the Crusaders Shield for great defensive performance all game.
The Crusaders are back in action this weekend with a Scrimmage vs Notre Dame college – time and location are TBA, and we Host Queen City the following weekend at the Polo Grounds.
As always we would welcome any new players regardless of experience level to join the team! We practice Tuesdays and Thursday at WC Reed park in Cleveland, from 6 to 8 pm.
Join the Crusade!