UNDERBANK Rangers suffered a disappointing week in their bid to cement a Co-operative Conference National play-off spot.
After going down 41-26 in a re-arranged midweek clash at third-placed Warrington Wizards, the Holmfirth-based side were beaten 34-4 at second-placed Bramley Buffaloes.
The two defeats against two of the division’s top teams may not have been totally unexpected, but there was certainly a sense of disappointment with the margin of the reverse at Bramley.
Underbank started the West Yorkshire derby clash the brighter and were soon ahead as Darren Hawkyard created the space for Richard Flooks to cross.
Flooks was unable to add the touchline conversion after he had earlier been unsuccessful with a difficult long-range penalty attempt.
And Rangers were unlucky not to extend their lead after 25 minutes when good work from Flooks and Simon Burkinshaw almost brought try No2, but this was as good as it got for the visitors.
Although Matt Garside had the chance to land a 29th-minute penalty when Bramley’s Paul Drake was sin-binned for punching, the Buffaloes slowly began to take control.
From the resulting drop-out Tony Williams re-gathered a short kick and burst clear before feeding Chris Gardner to force his way over to level the scores.
Drake returned to the field in the final minute of the half and made a telling contribution when his grubber kick was pounced on by Andy McGann to touch down, with Drake landing an excellent conversion to make it 10-4 at the break.
To make matters worse for the visitors, experienced second-rower Carl Leach was forced to leave the field with a shoulder injury and was unable to play any further part in the contest.
And in the second half, the home side took complete control.
They extended their lead after 50 minutes when former Giants Academy man Williams shrugged off several tacklers to score and eight minutes later Daniel Caston sent McGann over for his second.
Rangers had their first real foray of the second period into the Bramley half in the 62nd minute and began to look threatening, with Garside halted inches short as Hawkyard began to gain more influence.
Unfortunately, further injuries to Sam Dalby and Ross White made Bank’s task even tougher and in the final three minutes the Buffaloes grabbed two more tries from Drake and Gareth Thirsk to produce a final scoreline that Rangers hardly deserved.