Crusaders 22-32 Catalan

A Clint Greenshields hat-trick helped Catalan defeat Crusaders 32-22 and left the Welsh side rooted to the bottom of Super League.

Both teams clearly believed this was a match they were capable of winning and their enterprising approach resulted in an entertaining spectacle for the fans.

The Dragons opened the scoring on 9 minutes after a break by Damien Blanch gave the Dragons good field position and enabled Greenshields to score.

Ben Farrar extended the visitors lead on 13 minutes as the visitors took advantage of a knock on by Vince Mellars with Scott Dureau converting both tries to put the French outfit 12-0 in front.

Catalan should have extended their advantage on 20 minutes when Steve Menzies scooped up a charge down attempt by Gareth Thomas but his pass to Blanch sailed into the stands.

The hosts finally gave their supporters something to cheer on 35 minutes with a trademark try from Jarrod Sammut. The enigmatic half back flicking up a loose ball before racing 60 metres to score. 

However the home fans joy was short-lived as Greenshields went over for his second try on the stroke of half time as the visitors went into the break with a 16-6 lead. 

Crusaders struck first after the interval with a try from Tony Martin on 43 minutes but once again the Dragons hit back as Greenshields claimed his hat-trick on 50 minutes.

Ian Henderson almost added another try for the visitors before Crusaders forward Richard Moore‘s crunching tackle on Dureau fired his side into action.

Welsh international Ben Flower broke free and Michael Witt‘s high kick to the corner was brilliantly gathered by Vince Mellars who touched down for his first try of the season. 

Witt and Mellars were also involved in the try that brought the hosts level. Witt’s floating pass out wide was collected by Thomas whose speculative offload was well finished by Mellars, sending the small yet noisy band of home fans wild.

But the visitors replied in perfect fashion as Farrar went over for close range for his second of the night on 66 minutes.

The home side went in search of another score but a succession of penalties, some of which appeared to be harsh, handed the advantage to Catalan.

Two successful penalty goals from Dureau moved Catalan further in front and caused the home supporters to vent their frustration at referee James Child.

In truth the visitors were deserved winners and the result and performance leaves Crusaders coach Iestyn Harris with much to ponder.

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