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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 September 2007, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
Gateshead 16-60 Celtic Crusaders
John Dixon
John Dixon was delighted to see his side promoted
Celtic Crusaders celebrated winning the National League Two title with a comprehensive victory over Gateshead Thunder on Sunday.

The Crusaders clinched the title without kicking a ball after Barrow Raiders beat second-place Featherstone Rovers 30-4 on Saturday night.

It meant promotion and the title for the Welsh side will now play in National League One in 2008.

"This is a really good day for rugby league," said coach John Dixon.

"It's a great day for everyone associated with our club and for everyone involved in rugby league in Wales. This is the fruit of 12 months of hard work.

"The competition in National League One will be tougher. We think we've got the core here of a team that can compete really well in National League One.

"Hopefully we'll get better as a team and I think we'll compete really well."

Thunder gave Crusaders an early scare in their final match as Robin Peers gave them a third minute lead but the champions equalised straight from kick-off with a Paul Ballard try.

From then on it was exhibition stuff.

Tony Duggan fed Rob Toshack for a second try on 13 minutes while Damien Quinn slid in under the posts two minutes later.

Duggan surpassed his 2007 scoring record by notching his 38th of 2007 on 19 minutes, running the ball in under the posts after fine work from Welsh international Gareth Dean.

Darren Mapp added a further try on 24 minutes with Neale Wyatt running over on 29.

Neil Budworth created the next try, offloading to Quinn who in turn set up Duggan for his second of the game. Jace Van Dijk's fifth goal of the half gave the Crusaders a 38-4 lead at the interval.

Thunder dominated the first five minutes of the second half following a Crusaders error from kick-off and they were rewarded when Michael Knowles went over on 45 minutes and converted his own try.

A 70 metre run from Quinn and Van Dijk goal restored the balance five minutes later while Chris Beasley set up Grant Epton for a further score straight from kick-off.

Knowles went over for his second of the game converting it himself once again on 64 minutes to put the score on 16-48.

But Duggan went over for his hat-trick and his 40th of the season five minutes later. Van Dijk converted before scoring a try of his own with six minutes remaining.

Beasley then took and scored his first ever conversion for the club to complete a successful season for the Crusaders.

Gateshead Thunder: Neil Thorman, Robin Peers, Graham Stephenson, Pat Williamson, Danny Wilson, Tim Martin, Kevin Till, Chris Parker, Dan Smith, Tabuanitoga Cakacaka-Fou, Shane Wooden, Nice Hyde, Michael Knowles.
Subs: Ryan Clarke, Clint Frazer, Matt Barron, Jonny Scott.

Tries: Peers (3), Knowles (45, 64)Goals: Knowles 2/3

Celtic Crusaders: Tony Duggan, Paul Ballard, Rob Toshack, Mark Dalle Cort, Anthony Blackwood, Josh Hannay, Jace Van Dijk, Terry Martin, Neil Budworth, Gareth Dean, Neale Wyatt, Darren Mapp, Damien Quinn.
Subs: Grant Epton, Chris Beasley, Jamie I'Anson, Hywel Davies.

Tries: Ballard (6), Toshack (13), Quinn (15, 50), Duggan (19, 34, 69), Mapp (24), Wyatt (29), Epton (52), Van Dijk (74)Goals: Van Dijk 7/10, Beasley 1/1

Half-time:4-38Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham)

Crusaders close on championship
30 Aug 07 |  Rugby League


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