UNDERBANK Rangers broke an unbeaten 12 month unbeaten run for National Conference III promotion rivals Blackbrook with an impressive 21-10 victory.
It was a superb team effort and a display of great unity from Rangers in what was their biggest test of the season.
Coach Richard Knight was delighted with the victory and said: “A team don’t go 12 months unbeaten for no reason, but we came here and we played better than they did.
“It has given us confidence that we need to keep going into these games under the radar and then turning up and showing teams what we are made of.
“My man of the match was Alex Chatterton, he showed a fantastic defensive effort to pressurise the Blackbrook attack and cause numerous errors.
“He also made a timely interception in the second half when they were looking dangerous and we were only two points ahead.”
Things didn’t get off to the best start for Underbank when the home side managed to score a try in the third minute of the game.
However, the visitors hit back as stand off Neil Barrett chipped the ball through on the last tackle which was missed by the Blackbrook winger and Dave Pawson was able to dive in and drop on the ball over the try line – Barrett converted.
The next 20 minutes were a battle between the sides, but it was Underbank who managed to get the try before half time.
A penalty put Rangers right on Blackbrook’s line and they decided to run it instead of taking the two points.
The gamble paid off as Craig Williams shrugged off two tacklers to crash over the line.
Blackbrook managed to close the six-point gap early in the second half with a try, but they missed the conversion, leaving Rangers a two point lead.
Knowing that Blackbrook were still too close for comfort, Barrett put himself in an excellent position to score a drop goal in the last 10 minutes of the game.
Shortly after, Underbank were awarded a penalty close to the Blackbrook sticks and Barrett was once again able to take the kick, extending the lead further and putting pressure on the hosts.
In the 80th minute Kris Harrop managed to seal a fantastic result for Rangers with the final try of the game.
Andy Boothroyd kept the ball alive on the final tackle and when it went to ground, Harrop swooped in and picked it up to score.
It was a telling win for Rangers who had gone into the game as underdogs and although they are now two league points ahead of Blackbrook, they remain third in the table.
Underbank travel to league strugglers Peterlee Pumas next week, who they beat comfortably only a couple of weeks ago.
Underbank Rangers: Hendrick; Midgley, Chatterton, Lang, Noel; Barrett, Usher; Blayden, Boothroyd, Joyce, Pawson, Adam, Harrop. Subs: Berry, Williams, St Hilaire, Crowther.