North Wales Crusaders will play their first ever home game this Sunday when they are due to take on Rochdale Hornets at the Racecourse at 2.30pm.
The club was saved earlier this year after months of campaigning by the fan led Save The Cru campaign in the wake of the decision by former owners Geoff Moss and Ian Roberts to pull out of an application to continue playing in the Super League back in July.
Now under fan ownership and starting from scratch with a new name, the game will signal a fresh start for the club which was accepted into the Co-operative Championship One division in November.
The team’s new coach Clive Griffiths is a man with many years experience in the game and has promised that his side will play an entertaining brand of Rugby League as he believes that is what the fans want.
Griffiths, best known for leading the Welsh national Rugby League side to two World Cup semi-finals, is calling on the North Wales public to carry on attending in their droves for their chance to be a part of an historic new start.
“It’s not just about this year, this is our chance to build where we haven’t been able to before,” he said. “The North Wales public love supporting their local sides, that’s been proven. Hopefully we’ll see a good turn-out for what will be an exciting game against Rochdale this Sunday – this is an historic first game, it’s the first time a professional club has started from scratch in North Wales.”
“Super League or Championships, it doesn’t matter. If you like your Rugby League and you like to watch good sport, then come along as we are looking to play attractive open rugby. That’s my philosophy as I’m a fan as well and I like to be entertained so I know that entertaining rugby is the name of the game. We have to start somewhere and this is where we’ve been accepted but I know that the product we’re putting a place will get people through the turnstiles.”
North Wales Crusaders have signed some experienced players from the North West of England in addition to giving a number of North Wales born players a chance to shine.
The club had a confidence boosting 34-12 win over Leigh East last Friday in their first pre-season match but with Rochdale competing in the same division as Crusaders, Griffiths knows this game will be a lot tougher.
“This will show how far we have come in such a short time,” Griffiths added. “We’ve got some good players and we showed that against Leigh East last week. Defensively we were well organised and we were powerful and entertaining on the attack. Billy Sheen scored an eye-catching hat-trick and was on the end of some excellent approach play, his last try showed his elusiveness too. Danny Hulme was a star at full-back and Leon Brennan also showed the way – everyone was keen to get into the action.”
Admission to the game costs just £5 per person apart from under 14s who go free.