ROB MASSAM has expressed his pride in bringing up a century of appearances for North Wales Crusaders.
The Welsh international winger turned out for the 100th time in Crusaders’ colours in the 30-16 derby victory over South Wales Scorpions last week at Cardiff Arms Park, capping off his milestone with a stunning hat-trick of tries.
Crusaders take on Keighley Cougars on Sunday in League One at The Racecourse (2.30pm) looking to make it five games unbeaten.
Massam joined the Wrexham-based outfit in 2012 having previously played for Chester Gladiators and holds the club record for the most number of tries scored.
He has been in sparkling form once again this season drawing praise from head coach Anthony Murray who believes the 28-year-old is the ‘best winger outside of Super League’.
Speaking about his 100th appearance for The Racecourse outfit, Massam said: “I couldn’t really have had a better game, could I? It all went really well but most of all I was glad I could help us secure another key win.
“Coming from the amateur game, when I had my trial at Crusaders I never thought I’d be racking up 100 appearances down the line and have played for Wales.
“It was a proud moment for myself. It’s been a great journey at Crusaders and especially given the tough times the club has been through lately, it’s nice to be able to celebrate this achievement with the club heading in the right direction once again.”
On Crusaders’ financial plight, which saw the first-team squad forced to take a ‘significant pay cut’ and several players leave at the start of the current season, Massam said: “Obviously it’s tough seeing a lot of fellow players and friends leave the club as I’d made good friends like Jono Smith and Dalli (Jamie Dallimore) who had to leave but each player needed to look after their own future so it’s understandable.
“It’s brought the group closer together and the likes of myself, Tommy, Andy, Stuart Reardon have stuck by the club and it’s been good to see Crusaders begin to stabilise again.
“It’s been good to see the amateur lads step up and younger lads get a chance, it can only bode well for the future. Billy Brickhill has come through an open trial, like myself, and didn’t look out of place when he came on in Cardiff. With a bit more experience he’ll be a good first-team starter and that’s brilliant he’s got his opportunity.”
Crusaders are on a four-match unbeaten run which included victories over Hemel Stags and Oxford as well as a thrilling 16-16 draw at promotion hopefuls York City Knights, where Cru were denied victory at the death.
Keighley however pose their toughest test to date, the winners of the League One Cup currently lying fourth in the standings after seven wins and two defeats.
“The run of wins has been a good confidence boost going into a difficult game against Keighley,” Massam continued.
“It’s been nice to win a few and we played amazing rugby at York and were unlucky not to win.
“I’ve every confidence we can beat Keighley. Teams are approaching us and thinking they’ll roll us over given the number of players we lost but we’ve proven against Newcastle and York that we’re capable of turning over the best teams in the league.
“If we keep that going we’ll be considered a major threat before long. But there’s no pressure, we’re not expected to win any games this season, so we’re happy to keep proving people wrong and producing performances for Crusaders.”
Tomorrow, Coventry Bears host Oxford while Barrow Raiders visit London Skolars. On Sunday, Gloucestershire travel to Hemel, Toulouse make the journey to Newcastle, Scorpions visit Doncaster and York welcome Hunslet Hawks.