North Wales Crusaders 12 Whitehaven 12: Whitehaven extended their unbeaten run to 12 matches with a 12-12 draw at North Wales Crusaders.

Despite the fact that there was very little to separate the sides in a highly competitive encounter, the match wasn’t one to remember.

Both sides had poor completion rates throughout and it was a scrappy affair up until the final half-hour, which made up a little for what had been served up before.

Haven led 8-0 at half-time and, after two Crusaders tries had turned the game on its head, the visitors knew they needed to come up with a response if they were to keep their run alive.

They did, through a Dion Aiye try, but North Wales landed a late penalty to secure what turned out to be a fair point.

On the back of a knock-on in Crusaders’ opening set, Whitehaven shifted the ball right and Jordan Burns dived over in the corner.

North Wales were close to responding, but Tommy Johnson couldn’t collect Taylor Prell’s inside pass with the line begging.

A couple of minutes later, Crusaders carved out another opportunity when Earl Hurst grubbered out wide, only for him to knock-on after he had recollected the ball.

The visitors were then inches away from building on their lead, as Steven Roper dropped the ball as he went to touch down underneath the posts.

Prell was over in the corner for Crusaders, but it was chalked off by referee Andy Sweet as a Simon Atherton pass in the build-up was deemed to have been thrown forward.

Then, Haven extended their lead to eight points when Paul Crook floated a lovely kick to the wing, Burns outjumped Dale Bloomfield and raced clear down the right wing to grab his second.

As the half wore on, both team’s completion rates dropped and the match became scrappy.

Whenever either side gained field position in decent areas of the field, last play options and errors cost them and they handed over possession too cheaply.

The early exchanges of the second half weren’t an improvement on the first as errors continue to plague both sides.

However, the game did spring into life when Joe Bate ran on to a short ball and barged his way over the line and get Crusaders’ scoring under way for the afternoon.

After their opening try, North Wales were in the ascendancy, making solid ground in attack, and a tiring Haven defence began to look in trouble.

Haven came up with an error on halfway and, in the next set, Crusaders took the lead through Prell, who collected Simon Atherton’s smart tip back to dot the ball down in the corner.

The visitors retook the lead soon after, though, as they had a repeat set following a knock-on and Aiye took advantage of space out wide to force his way over.

While in possession, Whitehaven conceded a penalty on halfway and it provided Crusaders with another opportunity.

They were very close to notching their third score of the day, but Bloomfield was forced into touch as he went for the left corner.

Crusaders were over soon after, however, when Kenny Baker capitalised on a kick that bobbled up off the surface.

Instead of awarding a try, the referee gave Crusaders a penalty for a tackle off the ball and they opted to kick two points to level up the scores.

The drama didn’t finish there. Jordan Parker was set free by Jesse Joe Parker down the right wing and forced his way over in the corner, but a double movement was called.

Haven had one last chance to seal victory when the ball landed with Paul Crook on the last play, but he sliced his drop-goal attempt under pressure and the full-time hooter blew soon after.

North Wales Crusaders: Johnson, Prell, Atherton, Hurst, Bloomfield, Moulsdale, Smith, Walker, Dandy, Thompson, Houghton, Warburton, Millington. Subs (all used): Moore, Baker, Whalley, Bate.

Tries: Bate (50), Prell (60). Goals: Johnson (2/3)

Whitehaven: Miller, Calvert, Joe Parker, Thompson, Burns, Roper, Crook, Shackley, Newton, Worthington, Aiye, McAvoy, Tilley. Subs (all used): Gren, Holliday, Holland, Dalton

Tries: Burns (2, 24), Aiye (67)

Referee: Andy Sweet

Crowd: 387