Miners produced a battling performance but went down to defeat at one of their least-happy hunting grounds as newly-promoted Thatto piled on second half pressure to ease to victory.
After the opening weekend’s defeat to Kells this was a much-improved showing from Miners.
But all their attacking intent in the first half only yielded a single score as Thatto’s defence proved resilient before the tables were turned after the interval and the hosts pulled clear on the scoreboard.
Miners welcomed back Connor Ratcliffe but his return was cut short by injury before half time, Mark Thomas, Todd Fenlon and the outstanding Aaron Gorton also forced hors de combat before the final whistle.
Thatto took an early lead when Bobbie Goulding dummied through a gap to score but the visitors responded positively with Frankie Halton, Gorton and Darryl Kay making good yards and they took the lead midway through the half when Gorton showed quick thinking from acting half to dart under the posts, Jonny Youds goaling.
Miners were then unfortunate to see a try disallowed after Harry Gagen leaped high and palmed the ball back for Jack Reynolds to touch down only to be ruled offside by the touch judge.
And with that reprieve Thatto stormed back with two tries in quick succession, first a dive over the line from acting half by the hooker and then a fine offload finding Jamie Tracey at full pelt from half way to accelerate past the last defender and in for the score and a 16-6 interval scoreline which was harsh on Miners.
The second half though saw Thatto step up the pressure and it was all hands in defence as Miners battled to hold them out.
The pressure though had to tell and the Crusaders wrapped the game up with some clinical finishing as Goulding put Andy Lea racing away from half way and fullback Dan Birkett bagged two of his own, first benefitting from another inspired offload and then being first to Goulding’s kick in-goal.
Miners did have the final word with an excellent try of their own, Gagen storming up the middle and putting Tom Maloney racing clear from half way and although the visitors finished strongly the game had long since been settled.
It was a good weekend for the club’s other senior sides as the Alliance, under-18s and women’s teams all recorded victories.
The Alliance crushed hapless Bamber Bridge 86-10 with tries for Scott O’Brien (3), Klaus Ndinga (3), Zac Fagan (2), Danny Hilton (2), Lewis Grimes, Joe Lorimer, Jake Lloyd, Tony Doyle, Peter Evans, Sam Shepherd and Dave Wood. Sam Shepherd kicked eight goals with Connor Mason notching the solitary response for Brig.
The under-18s had a bruising encounter with Ince Rose Bridge which was suspended for half an hour owing to a serious injury to a Miners player, before winning 44-28 with tries for Joe Bordman (2), Jai Lilley (2), Ethan Jones, Joe Bibey and Will Ashworth.
The women’s team met Barrow Island for the first game between the clubs and a strong first half showing paved the way for a 36-16 success.
Rachael Ogden and Sarina Tamou scored braces with Grace Morley, Genna Banks, Megan Eastwood and Mairead Quinn also on the scoresheet although Barrow showed great spirit in the second half to record tries for Amy Beard, Kelly Friend, Samantha Norman and Michelle Larkin.
This Saturday the first team host Myton Warriors (2.30pm). The Alliance team are at Wigan St Patricks.
The under-18s have a free weekend whilst on Sunday the women’s team travel to Featherstone.