Slaithwaite Saracens will be hoping their 24-12 home triumph over Hollinwood is a taste of things to come.
After a tough 2014, the former Pennine League Premier Division big guns will be looking for 2015 to provide far richer pickings.
And their convincing victory over fellow Division V mid-table team Hollinwood was certainly a good way to start as the Saracens produced a gritty performance to avenge an early-season loss to their visitors.
The hosts had a great start when Josh Worthington touched down from the first set of six, with Gavin Dyson adding the extras to give Slaithwaite a lead they were never to lose.
But it wasn’t until midway through the half that they managed to score again through Jack Holden after some fast passing moves. Again Dyson added the extras to extend the Saracens lead to 12 points.
Although Hollinwood reduced the deficit to 12-6 at the break, the Saracens took the second half by storm to score further converted tries in the 41st and 55th minutes to take the game beyond the Lancastrians.
For Underbank Rangers, it’s a case of looking to take their 2014 form into the New Year, with the opening signs auguring well as they secured a hard-fought 12-8 triumph at Greetland All Rounders to remain top of the Second Division.
The opening exchanges weren’t that promising, with a three-week break resulting in some Rangers rustiness and the All Rounders taking full advantage to open up a 4-0 half-time lead.
Coach Richard Wilde read the riot act to his charges at the break and they certainly took note.
Within minutes of the restart, a well-weighted grubber kick from Luke Pogson was pounced on by Joe Bellas to level the scores and Oliver Moorhouse tagged on the extras with the help of the cross bar for Rangers to take the lead for the first time.
Greetland quickly responded with another unconverted try and with the clock running down and Rangers struggling to break through the home defensive line, a defeat looked to be on the cards.
Fortunately, the work horse commonly known as Chris Longley had other ideas. Barging and bustling, he performed a pirouette that wouldn’t have been out of place on strictly come dancing to force his way over the line. Moorhouse added the extras, this time with the help of the post, to lead 12-8.
Rangers then had to defend like Trojans for the last few minutes as Greetland hammered at the line.
As a result, there was relief and joy when the referee blew for full-time, with Underbank able to celebrate avoiding this potential banana skin thanks to a fantastic team performance in which the man-of-the-match was Tom Booth.
Another side who had something to celebrate were Lindley Swifts, who strengthened their First Division mid-table spot with a 16-0 victory at Ossett Trinity.
And in Division IV, Emley Moor also cemented their place in the middle of the table with a 36-14 home win over Selby Warriors.