NIGEL Briggs’ first game back in charge of Brighouse Rangers A was always going to be a tough one against top of the Division Five table Slaithwaite Saracens A in the Pennine ARL Supplementary Cup.
With both defences testing each other, it took 15 minutes before the first score was registered - a converted try to Slaithwaite.
This seemed to deflate Rangers as Slaithwaite quickly built up an 18-0 lead with two more quick tries.
Brighouse showed Briggs the right attitude and character as they replied with two well worked tries from Neil Walton and Andrew Esmond, both converted by Joe Campbell taking the half time score to 18-12 to the hosts.
The second half saw the league leaders rattling up two quick tries to take a 30-12 lead.
Rangers continued to give 100 per cent and some great running from Dan Hines, Steve Wood and Chris Hargreaves saw Lee Robson work his way smartly round the ruck and send in Esmond for his brace of tries, converted by Campbell.
Tiredness started to set in and Slaithwaite scored again under the sticks to run out convincing winners.
“On reflection, after having our recent troubles raising a team for the seconds, this was a good performance,” said Briggs.
“The lads gave me everything, but if we had been fit it would have been a lot closer.
“It was a big well done to the lads at half time, but I could see lack of fitness was going to be a major factor in the second half.
“Over the next few weeks we will provide a stronger test for future teams we come up against.
“We hopefully will have big numbers to choose from over the next few weeks, and it is important the lads claim a shirt on the Saturday by attending training.”
Slaithwaite Saracens A 36
Brighouse Rangers A 16
Pennine ARL Supplementary Cup
Pennine League Division Two
WYKE entertained Underbank Rangers looking to start the new year with a victory to help them with their promotion push.
The home side soon put the visitors on the back foot with some strong defence from Aidy Doherty, Sam Kittsen and Simon Owen while the forward line of Warren Pitman and Sean Kelly punished the opposition with some barn storming drives.
After some consistent pressure from the Black and Whites, Michael Wormald put in a pin point kick which made the Huddersfield outfit turn and have to take the ball out of their own in goal area.
After a tremendous chase, the centre-wing partnership of Steve Houson and Paul Bapty bundled the opposition player into touch.
From the resulting scrum, Wyke took two plays to the open side and Owen came back inside for a great team try.
With half time looming, Wyke continued to push for a further score but they could not make a dent in the strong Underbank defensive line.
Wyke, now playing up the slope, started the second half strongly and with the introduction of player-coach Ian Wormald and half back Duane Platt, they proved too strong for the travelling team.
After 15 minutes, Wyke’s forwards again took the ball up the park and on the fourth tackle Ian Wormald took it to the line and barged over, Michael Wormald adding the extra two points.
Both sides stretched each others defences with some good runs and movement of the ball before Wyke added to their lead when Ian Wormald and Dean Smith ran hard. The Underbank defence went for both men leaving a huge gap for half back and captain Ian Watkinson to stride over, Michael Wormald extending the lead with the kick.
Underbank did manage to put some telling pressure on the Wyke line, and after some sloppy defence they mangeed a score, However, it was too little too late and it only made the home side sure up the defensive line
Wyke’s man of the match awards went to centre Ryan Exley, loose-forward Aidy Doherty and half back Barry McShera.
This weekend, Wyke entertain Division Four high flyers Siddal A in the first round of the Andrew Bennett Memorial Trophy (2.00).