SUPER Underbank Rangers have savoured one of the most memorable years in their history.
After finishing the previous two campaigns as beaten finalists in the Co-operative Conference National Grand Final, player-coach Richard Knight’s men made it third time lucky in 2011.
And their final triumph over Kippax Knights couldn’t have been more thoroughly deserved.
After dominating the regular League season, Rangers were crowned minor champions for the first time.
But, just like in Super League, the main prize was the Grand Final crown, which was up for grabs at Warrington Wolves’ Halliwell Jones Stadium.
After losing to Bramley Buffaloes and Warrington Wizards in the previous two finals, the pressure was on for the Holmfirth-based club not to fail again.
But they needn’t have worried.
Rangers never looked like they would suffer a hat trick of defeats as they stormed to a 40-18 victory over Kippax Knights, thanks to two tries from Chris Geogegan and one each from man-of-the-match Courtney Allette, Adam Ryder, Nick Briggs, Will Midgley and Adam Carroll.
The victory was rounded off by Neil Barrett, who landed six goals from nine attempts.
There were also some major individual accolades to mark an outstanding Underbank year, with the inspirational Knight named the competition’s Coach of the Year and centre Ryder, winger Allette and prop Sam Dalby picked in the prestigious Co-operative Conference National Dream Team.
It was also an excellent 2011 for Barrett, who earlier in the year was at the heart of St Joseph’s 24-12 Holliday Cup final triumph over Slaithwaite Saracens at Lockwood Park.
Barrett came off the bench to inspire his side to victory and gain revenge for Slaithwaite securing the Pennine League Premier Division double over their Huddersfield rivals during the season.
Lindley Swifts, meanwhile, lifted the James Joseph Conlan Trophy.