Underbank Rangers continued where they left off in 2015 as they stunned treble winners Miners Rangers with this deserved success. Underbank, well marshalled by player-coach Richard Knight and with former Challenge Cup winner Darren Turner relacing his boots at the age of 44, played the elements better than their hosts and with the wind at their backs in the second half they kept a clean sheet before striking with two late tries to seal a famous win. Miners had led 14-4 at the break with tries for Darryl Kay, a fine finish to cap a welcome return from long-term injury for Lee Gittens, and for debutant Jordan Hill, Ian Mort with one goal as Underbank’s sole response came from powerhouse winger Courtney Allete.
However it was a different story after the break as Miners repeatedly threw away promising positions through slack handling and wild passing whilst Underbank patiently played the elements. Austen Barraclough gave them hope as he dived over from close range, Neil Barrett goaling, and then after Miners had Jimmy Muir sent off for punching the visitors seized their chance. Allete forced his way over at the corner to level matters and then straight from the restart Chris Druett broke from inside his own half and his pass on half way found fellow Australian Blake Hewitt storming away in support for the winning try on his debut.
Gamebreaker – Jimmy Muir’s red card followed swiftly by Courtney Allete’s leveller was the catalyst for Underbank’s final flourish
Gamestar – Nathan Chappell formed a dangerous threequarter pairing with Allete which caused Miners problems all afternoon
Miners – Andrew Groves, Ian Mort, Brad Hargreaves, Lee Gittens, Harry Gagen, Jimmy Muir, Scott O’Brien, Chris Bower, Tom Farrimond, Darryl Kay, Tommy Parkinson, Connor Ratcliffe, Mark Nicholson Subs – Jordan Hill, Martyn Gray, Mick O’Boyle, Matt Astley
Tries – Kay (11) Gittens (19), Hill (36)
Goal – Mort
Sent Off – Muir (72, punching)
MoM – Connor Ratcliffe
Underbank – Chris Druett, Will England, Alex Chatterton, Nathan Chappell, Courtney Allete, Neil Barrett, Richard Knight, Rob Joyce, Richard Pogson, Dan Farrand, Michael Murphy, Mitch Turner, Kris Harrop Subs – Blake Hewitt, Darren Turner, Jon Campling, Austen Barraclough
Tries – Allete (30, 73) Barraclough (48) Hewitt (75)
MoM – Nathan Chappell
Referee – James Jones