Miners Rangers picked up their first league points of the season with a deserved victory over Underbank. Only four games into the season and this had the feel of a ‘must-win’ fixture and Miners duly delivered with a strong performance tosweep their visitors aside and get the campaign up and running.
After the opening day setback to Lock Lane this has been a steady improvement by David Rowland’s men and that trend continued with this highly-encouraging display. On a fine spring afternoon Miners set the ball rolling when Calum Coleman sliced through the defence out to the left, Jack Reynolds enjoying a perfect afternoon’s kicking as he tagged on the extras. Underbank though struck back swiftly as they worked an overlap at the right and Alex Chattertonwas in for the levelling score, but Miners were back in the lead with as Andy Philbin grabbed his third score of an already-fruitful campaign, the big prop rumbling through the tackles to crash over beside the posts. Just past the half hour and Miners had the breathing space they desired with a fine solo effort from Reynolds, the centre with great footwork to open the gap and then turn on the burners to accelerate through from thirty yards out for a try he converted himself. However with the final play of the half Underbank were back in the game with a sparkling try of their own, a kick return from deep inside their own half being continued through four pairs of hands before Owen Restall provided the final support to finish off and make the interval score 16-10.
The next score would be critical and as both sides battled hard Miners were blunting the Underbank attack with strong defensive efforts as Underbank’s veteran Andy Boothroyd attempted to engineer the comeback, and with the visitors’ bigpack rumbling up the middle and making the occasional line break Jonny Youds, Deacon Monks, Jonny Carroll and Coleman led the defensive effort. The crucial next score came Miners’ way just on the hour as Tom Worthington darted through on the angle from a scrum near the Underbank line and that gave the Miners the cushion they needed. Underbank did rally and Boothroyd forced his way over for a deserved try but Miners reasserted their advantage when Lee Hudson burrowed over for his first try for the club to seal the points. Underbank grabbed a late score for Chatterton but it was only consolation as Miners were up and running.
The Alliance team made it a double as they also secured their first league points, Ethan Jones starring in a nerve-shredding 18-16 win over Hindpool.
This Saturday the first team are at Mayfield.