Underbank Rangers gained their fourth win out of their past five games beating Hunslet Warriors 46-34.
Rangers moved up to eighth place in the National Conference League’s Division One with a superb victory that was based on tenacious defence.
There were also some great individual scores from the left side trio of Craig Williams, Adam Ryder and Nathan Chappell.
However, Underbank had to maintain their workrate as, despite being ahead at the break, they found themselves behind just three minutes into the second half.
Rangers responded brilliantly and enjoyed a real purple patch around the hour mark with five sparkling tries in 15 minutes of attacking play.
With nine players unavailable – seven injured – Rangers squad depth was severely tested.
Tom Eidson replaced the injured Will England on the right wing, youngster Tom England returned to the bench, joined by the experienced front row duo of Rob Joyce and Jonlee Sanderson who replaced the unavailable Jon Campling and Lewis Peet.
Craig Williams was also back from a groin injury to take the place of injured veteran Michael Murphy in the back row.
Underbank started the game strongly and Mitch Turner and Williams were both held up over the line in the opening exchanges.
However, Rangers looked nervy and on 14 minutes Warriors took full advantage from an error as centre Gareth Croft collected a spill from Chris Druett and raced 80 metres for the opening score – hooker Gary McClelland kicked the goal.
Rangers hit back on 21 minutes as Andy Boothroyd burrowed in for a try and then scored again as Boothroyd opened a gap for front row forward Dave Valentine to stride through, and he provided a perfectly timed pass for full-back Kris Harrop to cross for his ninth try of the campaign.
Luke Pogson kicked the goal which was the first of seven successful shots at goal for the half back.
The lead was increased on 35 minutes when centre Adam Ryder raced 80 metres, shrugging off two would be tacklers and outpacing the Hunslet cover for a superb individual try.
Pogson added the goal and Rangers were looking comfortable with a 16-6 lead, but a Caldon Bravo try and a goal from McClelland reduced the lead to 16-12 at the break.
The late first half score lifted the Warriors and they started the second strongly and took the lead on 43 minutes with a try from Ben Tatterson and goal from McClelland, who increased the lead to eight points on 50 minutes as he reacted the quickest to a loose ball on the ground to scoop it up and score, and then convert his own try.
These setbacks stirred Underbank into action and centre Alex Chatterton took a long pass from Druett to dance through the defensive line and touch down on 55 minutes.
Pogson converted and did so twice more in a blistering three minute spell as first Chappell powered over his opposite number to race 50 metres and score, and this was repeated on the next set as Ryder copied his left side partner’s effort with a carbon copy effort.
Rangers were 10 points to the good at 34-24, and the game was put to bed with a team effort as Williams broke through up the middle and found Chappell on his shoulder to score and Chappell returned the complement on 70 minutes as he burst through and chipped inside for the ball to sit up perfectly for the supporting Williams to slide over.
Pogson converted the Williams effort and then slotted over a 74th minute penalty to complete the home side’s tremendous come back win.
Luke Day scored two late consolation scores for the visitors, either side of a Pogson penalty goal, to give some respectability to the scoreline.
Dave Valentine with a tireless 80 minute effort in the trenches picked up the Bengal Spice Man of the Match for Underbank, while human wrecking ball Adam Ryder was selected as the Rose and Crown Players’ Player.
However, despite the individual accolades this was more about another outstanding team performance, the fifth such in the past six weeks.
Underbank enjoy a two week break now before tackling Milford Marlins in the next round of the Conference Cup on June 11.
Underbank Rangers: Kris Harrop; Tom Eidson, Alex Chatterton, Nathan Chappell, Courtney Allette; Chris Druett, Luke Pogson; Dave Valentine, Stephen Berry, Dan Farrand, Adam Ryder, Mitch Turner, Craig Williams. Interchange: Tom England, Andy Boothroyd, Rob Joyce, Jonlee Sanderson.
National Conference, Division One: Ince Rose Bridge 44 Millom 16, Milford Marlins 23 East Leeds 15, Normanton Knights 36 Shaw Cross Sharks 8, Oulton Raiders 6 Myton Warriors 26, Skirlaugh 32 Featherstone Lions 30, Thatto Heath Crusaders 94 Elland 10, Underbank Rangers 46 Hunslet Warriors 34