Underbank Rangers power into next round of Challenge Cup
BUOYANT Underbank Rangers kicked off their Carnegie Challenge Cup campaign with a bang as they ousted National Conference II strugglers Heworth ARLFC 32-6 at The Cross.
It had been a month since Underbank’s Grand Final heartache, but Rangers bossed matters from start to finish.
Now Underbank have until Sunday to prepare for the cup’s second qualifying round at home to Leeds Metropolitan University, who defeated Elland in the opening round, and head coach Richard Knight is optimistic about his side’s chances.
“It was a tough game and the conditions didn’t help,” said Knight.
“We haven’t played for a month so the lads did well to get a 26 point win.
“We are looking good for next week against Leeds Met and hopefully it will be the start of a good challenge cup run.
“We ended up one short of a semi-professional tie last year and the lads want to go one better this year, so fingers crossed,” he added.
Underbank were never going to exhibit their best football with the winter weather raising it’s ugly head, but the men from Holmfirth adapted well to the sluggish conditions and overpowered Heworth – who only managed one point from 24 games last season.
And Underbank were soon rewarded as back to back penalties gave Rangers the field position to execute a well-worked move that culminated with Neil Barrett finding the on-rushing Alex Chatterton who burst through to score and Barrett added the extras.
But then the men from Holmfirth showed some indiscipline of their own and the hosts were soon punished as Michael Brown touched down before Gary Watkinson kicked the visitors level.
Bank’s dip didn’t last for long and they had worked a ten point gap before the break.
Winger Will Midgley ran in to bag his first before some dazzling footwork from full back Sam Hendrick tied the Heworth defence in knots as he weaved his way past five opponents to score.
As the weather worsened after the interval, so did Heworth’s luck and Richard Aka extended the lead on the hour after a clever pass from Sam Housley.
Midgley and Hendrick continued to shine as the full back sent the winger in to complete his brace.
Sam Dalby capped off a fine performance when he scooted under the sticks, amongst pressure from the surrounding defence.
Barrett once again converted to cap off a sound victory.
Underbank: Hendrick; Aka, Chatterton, Lang, Allette; Midgley, Usher; Williams, Barrett, Dalby, Briggs, Joyce, Valentine. Interchange: Housley, Horsfall, St Hilaire
Heworth: Smith; Worthington, Sinclair, Brown, Johnson; Barron, Caddie; Speck, Rogers, Crossman, Brough, Clarke, Hayes. Interchange: Jackson, Cooper, Braithwaite, Watkinson