UNDERBANK Rangers opened their Conference National campaign with a 30-18 home defeat to highly-rated Warrington Wizards.
To lose the first match of the season is always disappointing, but coach Aaron Perrin's side can take a lot of satisfaction from a spirited performance that augurs well for the year ahead.
Playing down the slope in the first period, the visitors settled quickest and dominated the early exchanges, taking the lead through Chris Campbell. Centre Nick Owen added the extras, the first of five successful conversions.
But Rangers responded positively with a 12th-minute penalty from hooker John Birt and they took the lead shortly after when Birt grubbered through on the last tackle, regathered and fed the supporting Peter Adam to score.
Birt converted the score to put the home side deservedly in the lead.
But the Wizards regained their composure, and the lead, when Matt Wilson burst through.
And by half-time, Danny Shaw and Campbell crossed for further tries to give the visitors a commanding interval advantage.
Rangers started the second half in determined fashion and within minutes acting captain Jamie Tarazi burst through numerous tackles to score.
Then Matt Reis stormed onto a great short ball from Adam and Birt converted to cut the deficit to six points in the 57th minute.
But three minutes later, the Wizards' nerves were settled when Simon McEvoy crossed for what proved the clinching score.
Underbank did everything possible in that final quarter to claw back the deficit, with Chris Lodge denied due to a double movement.