Youngquest hat-trick leads Crusaders rout

Crusaders 60 Salford 16
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The Independent Online

Crusaders won a third game in a row for the first time in their short history to give themselves a fighting chance of making the Super League play-offs.

Their biggest win of the season featured a hat-trick of tries from their winger, Nick Youngquest, and 24 points from Clinton Schifcofske. However this was an accomplished team performance, full of enterprise and adventure that deserved better than Crusaders' lowest crowd so far at Wrexham, a mere 2,412.

With results elsewhere going their way and a match in hand against Harlequins on Friday, the competition's youngest club could soon be in the top eight.

"We started well and kicked on and that will give us confidence for the remaining four games," said a delighted Brian Noble. "What we've achieved here is already fabulous." This was a match Crusaders had as good as won with four tries in the first quarter, the opening two of them to Youngquest. The first came after Ray Cashmere had been penalised for kicking out in the tackle and Crusaders worked a simple overlap. His second owed a lot to the tremendous footwork of Jason Chan, as the Salford defence was opened up again.

Weller Hauraki was equally effective down that left-hand channel to set up Rhys Hanbury and Jarrod Sammut released Schifcofske for the fourth.

All the City Reds could manage by way of reply was a Stefan Ratchford try when Matty Smith's deliberate kick came back off a post. And they were dismantled again for two more tries in the few minutes leading up to half-time. The effervescent Sammut was prominent again in a sweeping move that ended with Tony Martin going over and Ryan O'Hara then crashed in from close range to leave Schifcofske an easy fourth goal.

And it was the Australian who sparked a scoring spree after the break, regathering his own imaginative short drop-out, leading to a try for Hauraki. That was the first of five tries in 15 minutes as Salford's defence disintegrated. Youngquest completed his hat-trick from long range, Schifcofske and Martin both scored their second and Frank Winterstein registered the last.

Ironically, Salford's best spell came after Jeremy Smith had been sent off for verbally abusing the referee, Ben Thaler. In his absence they scored tries through Cashmere and Karl Fitzpatrick, but that did nothing to placate their coach, Shaun McRae. "I'm not sure what word would sum that performance up," he said. "I've had a private word and told them what I think."

Crusaders: Schifcofske; Dyer, Martin, Chan, Youngquest; Sammut, Hanbury; Bryant, Withers, Peek, Winterstein, Hauraki, Lupton.

Substitutes used: Lee, James, O'Hara, Trimarchi.

Salford: Fitzpatrick; Broughton, Henry, Talau, Gibson; Ratchford, M Smith; Cashmere, Alker, Boyle, Littler, Adamson, Swain. Substitutes used: Sidlow, Parker, J Smith, Neal.

Referee: B Thaler (Wakefield)