HAT-TRICK hauls from Lee St Hilaire and Jacob Senior helped Underbank Rangers put a stamp on the National Conference League Division III as they crushed St Albans Centurions 74-0.
Further touchdowns from Richard Knight, Steve Berry, David Downs, Craig Williams, Dave Valentine and a 26-point haul from Neil Barrett made sure that there would be no fairytale comeback for the visitors.
Underbank’s defensive improvements after their opening defeat were apparent as the rare Centurion attacks were easily dealt with.
Rangers coach Knight was proud of his team’s efforts and said: “Everybody played their part and it wasn’t just how we attacked but how we defended.
“They never looked like getting over our line and its great credit to the effort the lads put in. We stuck to the game plan throughout the match and that is why we won 74-0.
“We will look to take this momentum into the game next week against Bristol and if we perform as well as we did against St Albans, then there should be no problem in gaining another three points.”
The reigning champions had the game won at the interval as Rangers were 34 points up at half time. A further 40-point haul in the second period ensured the rout over the league’s new boys was complete.
A rain-soaked pitch suggested that play would be slow, but there was nothing sluggish about Bank’s start as St Hilaire powered through the Centurion defence in the 10th minute to score his first try.
Knight was next in line to exploit the holes in the visitors’ back line as he ran clear from a scrum, before St Hilaire completed his hat trick before the half hour. He twice ran clear and touched down unchallenged on both occasions.
Senior’s dancing feet gave the home side a healthy lead at the break as he went over twice in five minutes with Barrett adding the extras each time.
The second half started in similar fashion as man of the match Berry profited from Williams’ bursting run as he was sent clear to finish under the sticks.
Rangers did not let up as winger Courtney Allette ran a 90m return before a last-ditch tackle saw the ball fall to Downs who went in to score Underbank’s eighth try of the day.
Just before the hour Williams and Valentine got in on the act as both went over to finish a period of relentless Rangers pressure.
With the game firmly out of sight for the visitors, gaps began to widen, and Knight once again raced clear to score in the 68th minute before his kick through fell kindly to Barrett to finish off not long after.
Senior then bagged his third, and Underbank’s 13th, before Barrett kicked his 11th goal to cap a determined Rangers performance.
Bank will look for a repeat display next weekend as they host Bristol Sonics.