This article needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (January 2023)

North Wales Crusaders
Club information
Full nameNorth Wales Crusaders Rugby League Football Club
Short nameCrusaders
Colours
Founded2011; 13 years ago (2011)
Websitenorthwalescrusadersrlfc.co.uk
Current details
Ground(s)
ChairmanIan Edwards
CoachMike Grady
ManagerCarl Forster
CaptainLee Hudson
CompetitionBetfred League 1 (from 2015)
2023 RFL League 16th
Current season
Uniforms
Home colours
Away colours
Records
Northern Rail Bowl1 (2013)
Championship 11 (2013)
Most capped69 – Tommy Johnson
Highest points scorer514 – Tommy Johnson

The North Wales Crusaders (Welsh: Croesgadwyr Gogledd Cymru Rygbi'r Gynghrair) is a professional rugby league club based in Colwyn Bay, Wales. They are the successors to the former Super League club Crusaders Rugby League. Crusaders compete in Betfred League 1, the third tier of English rugby league (behind the Super League and Betfred Championship). Until the end of 2016 they played their home games at the Racecourse Ground in Wrexham. From 2017 to 2020 they were based at the Queensway Stadium in Wrexham, but also played several games at Hare Lane in Chester.[1] In 2021 the club moved to the Eirias Stadium in Colwyn Bay.[2]

History

A Crusaders game in 2008

Celtic Warriors

In the summer of 2003, the WRU voted to reduce the top tier of Welsh professional rugby union from nine clubs into five regions. The Celtic Warriors officially represented the Mid-Glamorgan Valleys area, which in practice meant that they were a combination of Pontypridd RFC and Bridgend RFC.[citation needed]

Financial problems at Pontypridd RFC led to the sale of their half of the Warriors to Bridgend RFC owner Leighton Samuel, which he gifted to the WRU. He then later sold his half to the WRU who in the summer of 2004 decided to liquidate the club.[citation needed]

Celtic Crusaders

Main article: Crusaders Rugby League

Leighton Samuel was approached by the RFL to form a rugby league club and join the professional ranks. The new Celtic Crusaders were argued to be a continuation of the old Celtic Warriors side[by whom?] and were based at Bridgend's Brewery Field.

In 2009, the team was awarded a Super League license and played one season in Super League before financial problems saw the club renamed Crusaders Rugby League and moved to Wrexham. The club created an academy side for players based in North Wales known as North Wales Crusaders. After two seasons at Wrexham, the club pulled out from bidding for a 2012 Super League license.

North Wales Crusaders

The club was founded in 2011 following the folding of Crusaders Rugby League. They officially joined Championship 1, the third tier of rugby league in the United Kingdom, on 11 October 2011. Their name, which continues the Crusaders branding, was selected in a fan contest.[3][4] A rival bid from Wrexham-based Glyndwr Chargers was withdrawn.

The club held open trials for any new players to attend.[5]

North Wales Crusaders won their first game, a friendly, 34–12 away to Leigh East.

Symbols

The club revealed a logo ready for use in the 2012 season which was an evolution of the 2011 logo. The badge, inspired by the Prince of Wales's feathers, has three white feathers adorning the centre of a disc with the Flag of St. David on. To the left and right of the feathers, the words "North" and "Wales" appear on the disc as opposed to "Rugby" and "League" on the old logo. Beneath the feathers remains the text "Crusaders".

In 2022, the club revealed new home and away kits for the upcoming year. The home kit is black with a yellow stripe across the center, while the away kit is white with black and gray accents.[6]

Stadiums

Racecourse Ground stadium, Wrexham

North Wales Crusaders were first based at the Racecourse Ground located in Wrexham. The club moved to the ground in 2010, in time for the start of the Super League XV season. The first Crusaders match ever played there was against Leeds Rhinos on 29 January 2010, and that match is also the highest attendance for a Crusaders match played in Wrexham. With a capacity of 15,500 it is the largest ground in North Wales, the fifth largest in the whole of Wales, and the seventh largest in Super League. It was first built in 1807 and first played host to Wrexham's "Town Purse" horse race.[7] Crowd trouble stopped the horse racing and in 1864 it became home to Wrexham Football Club with the club now owning the ground.[8][9][10] The Wales national rugby league team have played there. The ground has four stands: The Mold Road Stand, the Eric Roberts Stand, the Kop and the Yale.

During pre-season of the 2012 campaign. North Wales Crusaders played 'Home' games at both Halton Stadium (Widnes)[11] and Eirias Stadium (Colwyn Bay).[12]

Whilst resurfacing work was taking place at the Racecourse Ground in 2014, North Wales Crusaders took their home games to 'the Rock' in Rhosymedre, near Ruabon.

As of the 2017 season, the club is based at the Queensway Stadium in Wrexham. It consists of two small all-seater stands on one side overlooking a rugby pitch and a running track with floodlights.

In 2021, the club was based at Stadiwm ZipWorld (aka Eirias Stadium) in Colwyn Bay due to COVID-19 restrictions preventing the use of Queensway Stadium.[13]

2023 squad

North Wales Crusaders 2023 Squad
First team squad Coaching staff
  • 1 EnglandTommy Johnson FB
  • 2 EnglandDave Eccleston WG
  • 3 EnglandJordan Penny CE
  • 4 EnglandEarl Hurst CE
  • 5 WalesRob Massam WG
  • 6 EnglandElliott Jenkins SO
  • 7 EnglandJordan Gibson SH
  • 8 EnglandBrad Brennan PR
  • 9 GermanyBrad Billsborough HK
  • 11 EnglandMatt Reid SR
  • 12 EnglandGavin Rodden SR
  • 13 EnglandChris Barratt LF

Head coach

Assistant coach

  • Jonny Leather

Legend:
  • (c) Captain(s)
  • (vc) Vice-captain(s)

Updated: 20 April 2021
Source(s): 2021 Squad


2022 transfers

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Gains

Player Club Contract Date
England Harry Swarbrick Barrow Raiders 1 Year September 2021
England Dec Kay Unattached 1 Year September 2021
England Kieran Sherratt Midlands Hurricanes 1 Year October 2021
England Paul Nash Swinton Lions 1 Year October 2021
Wales Reece Briers Warrington Wolves 1 Year December 2021

Losses

Player Club Contract Date
Republic of Ireland Karl Ashall Retirement N/A September 2021
England Warren Thompson Retirement N/A September 2021
England Dave Eccleston Whitehaven RLFC 1 Year November 2021

Players

Main article: List of North Wales Crusaders players

See also: List of Crusaders Rugby League players

Coaches

This section needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (January 2021)
Name Nat Tenure Matches Won % SL Won % Champ Won % Champ 1 Won % Chall. Cup Won % Champ. Cup Won %
Clive Griffiths Wales November 2011 – June 2014 35/61 57 0/0 0 6/15 40 21/34 62 3/6 50 5/6 83
Anthony Murray England June 2014 – September 2016 12/26 46 0/0 0 1/11 9 5/8 63 2/3 67 4/4 100
Mike Grady England October 2016 – March 2018[14]

Updated 11 June 2015.[15]

Seasons

Main article: List of North Wales Crusaders seasons

Honours

Runners-up (1): 2008
Winners (2): 2007, 2013
Winners (1): 2015
Runners-up (1): 2017

Statistics

Main article: North Wales Crusaders statistics and records

See also: Crusaders Rugby League statistics and records

References

  1. ^ "CHESTER RUFC TO HOST CRUSADERS MATCHES THIS SUMMER". North Wales Crusaders. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  2. ^ Darbyshire, Drew (29 April 2021). "North Wales Crusaders relocate for 2021". Love Rugby League. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ "BBC Sport – New Crusaders side awarded Championship One place". BBC News. 11 November 2011. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  5. ^ "Official Crusaders RL web site". Crusadersrfl.com. 7 December 2011. Archived from the original on 27 March 2018. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  6. ^ "North Wales Crusaders release new home and away kits for 2022 season". North Wales Chronicle. 9 March 2022. Retrieved 15 January 2024.
  7. ^ BBC News – Old Stadium Claims World Record Retrieved on 5 September 2010.
  8. ^ Wrexham FC – The Racecourse Archived 21 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 5 September 2010.
  9. ^ Wales Directory – The Racecourse Retrieved on 5 September 2010.
  10. ^ The Racecourse Wrexham – About Us Archived 31 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 6 September 2010.
  11. ^ "2012 Season". Crusadersrfl.com. Archived from the original on 1 March 2014.
  12. ^ "Official Crusaders RL web site". North Wales Crusaders. 20 February 2012. Archived from the original on 19 May 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  13. ^ "North Wales Crusaders relocate for 2021 season due to Covid-19 regulations". BBC Sport. 28 April 2021. Retrieved 15 January 2024.
  14. ^ "North Wales Crusaders coach Grady departs". The Leader. 27 March 2018. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  15. ^ "Official Crusaders RL web site". Crusadersrfl.com. Archived from the original on 7 May 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012.