UNDERBANK have taken inspiration from the Olympic Games hosts by placing their faith in a number. And it seems to be working!
Unlike China, whose lucky figure is eight, the number four has proved to be a good luck charm for Rangers, who travel to Featherstone Lions in the Conference National tomorrow (2.30).
A 12-7 triumph against Dewsbury Celtic at the Cross last Saturday was the club’s first win in four weeks, taking their victory tally for the season by a twist of fate to four.
And significantly, the result moved them within touching distance of ending the competition’s league phase – you guessed it – in fourth.
This target, which player-coach Ritchie Hawkyard said his side were aiming for, would guarantee a home tie in the end-of-season play-offs.
Reflecting on the win six days ago, the 22-year-old said: “The lads played really well. Dewsbury didn’t score at all in the second half so it was great from a defensive point of view.”
Hawkyard, however, said Rangers were poor at times in attack despite the positive result.
“We tried to play attractive rugby but we found it hard in the poor weather conditions and kept losing the ball as a consequence,” he added.
Hawkyard praised the performance of new signing Anthony Murray, who sealed the win with a late try. Murray, formerly of East Lancashire Lions, was man of the match on his home debut.
“If Anthony had been playing for us earlier this season I’m sure he would have helped us to win more games. We’ve lacked a cutting edge at times but he seems to have that,” he said.
Rangers, fifth in the Conference National table, are three points behind tomorrow’s fourth-placed opponents. Hawkyard explained: “It’s a massive game for us. If we can win we should finish in fourth and guarantee a home play-off tie.”
But he revealed they have injury problems.
“We have around 10 injured players at the moment which worries me.
“Saying that, though, we must have good strength in depth because the players who are coming into the team are doing a decent job.”
Rangers team manager Neil Farrell said the club needed to focus and do everything in their power to finish as high up the table as possible.
“This season has been a little frustrating because we know on our day, with our best squad available, we can compete with the top sides,” added Farrell.
“We’re not a million miles away from beating those kinds of teams, so it’s also frustrating we are sitting in fifth position.
“We just need to focus on our current situation and do as much as we can to finish fourth.
“It’s going to be difficult to go all the way to the play-off final but there’s no reason why we can’t do well and progress far.
“Our players certainly don’t fear anyone. They have every confidence in their own abilities.”