Blackbrook Bulldogs 0 Thatto Heath Crusaders 38

CRUSADERS opened up a three-point lead at the top of the National Conference League Division Two with this easy, eight-try demolition of local rivals Blackbrook.

With the Bulldogs struggling at the foot of the table and the visitors on target for promotion at the first time of asking, it was always going to be tall order for the home side to get anything out of this match.

But, to their credit, they kept plugging away and they managed to restrict their neighbours to much less than the 60-point total predicted in some quarters.

Heath, though, simply had too much pace and power and once they had opened the scoring on 13 minutes with a try by centre Anthony Marsh it was just a question of how many points they would amass.

Further first-half touchdowns followed from winger Mike Woods, full-back Wayne Jackman and packman Martin Horton, with Jackman adding two goals to make it 20-0 at the interval.

And it was the same story in the second half with former amateur international Chris Honey going over within three minutes of the re-start to increase Thatto's advantage.

Then the speedy Woods completed a hat-trick with two further tries, either side of a touchdown by fellow wingman Neil Prescott, with another Jackman goal completing the visitors' tally.

Crusaders A 12 Ashton 6

Crusaders gained revenge on Ashton following a 48-6 hammering earlier in the season.

Both teams started well but it was Ashton who drew first blood on 10 minutes with a well-worked try from a set move. The conversion fell short but five minutes later the visitors increased their lead with a penalty.

Minutes before half-time Crusaders reduced the deficit with a good team try finished off by winger Ricky Newman.

Ten minutes into the second half Crusaders took the lead for the first when centre Mark Hayton latched on to a neat inside ball from prop Phil Southward to score a well-deserved unconverted try.

Ashton hit back but fine defence kept them at bay and Crusaders completed the scoring when Hayton released winger John Pumford to score after good work by the forwards.

In a good all-round team performance Crusaders were best served by Geoff Williams, Phil Southward -- both making comebacks after lengthy lay-offs -- and Ricky Newman, with youngster Jeff Jacks also worthy of mention.