Underbank Rangers 6
Pennine ARL Division Two
WYKE travelled to Holmfirth-based side Underbank Rangers, looking to get their season back on track.
Victory for the Black and Whites was never in doubt as they played some of their best rugby of the season, with excellent performances from second-rower Ashley Hutchinson, half-back Aidy Doherty and prop-forward Dean Smith.
The platform was set in the first half with Wyke punishing the opposition with hard hitting drives from the forwards and lovely plays from scrum-half Sam Kittsen and veteran stand-off Craig Hillam.
Wyke broke through the Underbank line on several occasions through Kittsen and Hutchinson. However, they struggled to put the final ball to hand.
On 20 minutes, skipper Ian Watkinson took the ball from acting half back and carried it to the opposition line before sending a delightful ball to the onrushing Hutchinson, who dived over.
With the score at only 4-0 in Wyke’s favour at the break, and playing uphill, the visitors could be forgiven for fearing the worst.
However, Underbank had not managed a single break against the visitors in the whole of the first period as the defence stood firm.
The second half started in a similar way with Wyke making break after break but not finding the whitewash.
Finally, the ball was chipped through, the home winger struggled to gather and Dean Smith gratefully dived over the line for a rare try. Michael Wormald added the extras.
Underbank then came on the offensive and down the hill found themselves only 10 yards from the line.
Wyke’s defence held out well, but after two penalties the Underbank prop found himself with the ball in hand and only two yards out. He took three would-be tacklers over for a dubious try to make it 10-6 in Wyke’s favour.
With the fog descending, there was a worry that the game would be abandoned.
Wyke stepped up a gear and after another fine move the ball was off-loaded to the supporting Hillam to go over for his second. Wormald kicked the extras.
With minutes to go, Underbank attacked the Wyke line, but the defence did not crack.
On Saturday, Wyke entertain Birkenshaw from Division One in the first round of the Bradford Cup (2.00).
WYKE’S second team travelled to Division Seven leaders Garforth Tigers and gave their counterparts a run for their money, eventually going down 16-6.
Wyke’s outstanding performers were Ryan Kershaw and Bradley Ellis and the try scorer was prop Gary Smith.
The second team also have a break from the league action this week, when they travel to Victoria Rangers of Division Four in the Bradford Cup.