Whitehaven looked every bit the higher division side as they put the North Wales Crusaders to the sword to finish their pre-season schedule with a flourish.

Head coach Gary Charlton had demanded better from his side after what he felt was a lacklustre derby performance in their 24-18 win against Workington Town last weekend and he certainly got that in a first half played in swirling winds and driving rain.

League 1’s North Wales, who lost Matthew Reid in the warm-up and ran with just 16 players, huffed and puffed at times but couldn’t land a blow on the West Cumbrians.

Sam Forrester ducked and weaved his way over the whitewash after eight minutes at the Recreation Ground, for the hosts’ opening try, with Jake Moore hitting the post with his conversion attempt.

The full-back turned provider four minutes later when he slipped a quick pass to centre Jessie Joe Parker who rolled back the years to charge over in the corner for a try which Moore converted to make it 10-0.

The first 20 minutes had been all Haven but the visitors got a foothold to launch a few attacks when an attempted kick from Callum Phillips was blocked in the middle of the pitch and North Wales latched onto the loose ball.

Haven were sturdy in front of their line and never looked like giving up a try thanks to some touch tackling and they could have added to their lead after soaking up some pressure but were thwarted by some flowing moves ending with sloppy passes being intercepted.

They did extend their advantage to 16 points with eight minutes of the half to play when Karl Dixon skipped through a couple of challengers to canter over under the posts for his first try in the chocolate, blue and gold.

Moore’s second successful conversion of the afternoon from three attempts was the last notable action of the opening period.

Haven started the second half as they had finished the first, camped in the opposition’s half, and they opened their account seven minutes after the restart with Andrew Bulman quickest to react and dive on a kick through for their fourth try. Dixon’s conversion attempt was nowhere near.

It was now or never for the Crusaders and they enjoyed their best spell of the game for the next 10 minutes, working the Haven line with metres to go to get on the scoresheet but unable to find any weaknesses in a determined stand.

Haven handled that push with relative ease and the game became a scrappy affair before two quickfire tries put the result beyond doubt.

First Bulman scooped up the ball and turned on the jets to speed from his own half, straight down the left wing and in for his second try of the afternoon after 72 minutes, only for Moore to miss another conversion.

Then within minutes Forrester capped a fine individual performance with his second touchdown in the corner, with Moore hitting the target this time to put the hosts 30 points up.

That seemed to knock the battle out of the away side and Haven took advantage to have the last word with Callum Phillips breaking into space to dive for another try which Moore added the extras to for a final score of 36-0 which was a fair reflection of how superior the Championship side had been.

Whitehaven: Forrester, Bulman, Mossop, Parker, Thompson, Dixon, C. Phillips, Coward, Dowsett, Kelly, Gillam, Moore, Bradley. Subs (all used): B. Phillips, Aiye, Shackley, Thackray, Walker, Taylor, Newton, Wilkinson.

Tries: Forrester (2), Parker, Dixon, Bulman (2), C. Phillips. Goals: Moore (4).

North Wales Crusaders: Johnson, Eccleston, Penny, Holmes, Brady, Gibson, Jenkins, Brennan, Billsborough, Millington, Cottington, Rodden, Tilley. Subs (all used): Roper, Morley-Samuels, Olmez.

Crowd: 346

Star Man: Sam Forrester