Rangers welcomed second placed Newsome to Russell Way in was expected to be a tough top of the table clash.
With dire weather being the order of the week fast flowing rugby was not expected in this game sponsored by the Crown at Waring Green.
Rangers began the brightest with the pack leading from the front and setting the platform for the backs to build on. First to score for Brighouse was deceptive centre Reece Spurr. He finished off a good set out wide following some good work from half backs Ben Drennan and Jamie Barraclough. Gary Proctor converted.
Captain Scott Bradley was causing the opposition some issues in defence with some strong running. This paid off when he charged through the line and side stepped the full-back to notch a try. Proctor converted and it was 12 nil.
Bradley soon doubled his tally with a near identical try. Proctor converted to leave Rangers leading 18 nil at the interval.
Newsome came out in the second half all guns blazing and were soon on the score sheet when a flowing move saw the centre crash through on the fringes.
Brighouse hit back when veteran second-rower Alex Muff dived in next to the upright. Gary Proctor converted to make it 24–6. Some poor defence from Brighouse immediately after scoring let in Newsome again.
From here on in Rangers stepped back up to the level they had been performing in the first half. Veteran aging Spurr bagged his double for the game and Gary Proctor converted for 30–10.
A cheeky try form hooker Stuart Proctor nailed the final nail in the Newsome coffin. Rangers had a penalty five metres from line and after setting up a planned move, Proctor simply tapped the ball and walked under the posts unopposed. Brother Gary duly notched his sixth conversion from six attempts to leave Rangers celebrating a 36–10 victory.
After the game long serving full-back Mark Horne said: “It was a very good performance today and great to get points from one of the forerunners for the title.
“I personally enjoyed the game today. Coach Gary Barnett has given myself a couple of tips and to be fa ir they were right and came off a treat. He usually is right, not that he would admit to this.”
Brighouse Rangers 36
Newsome Panthers 10
Pennine ARL Championship Division One
Hoyland Vikings 12
Brighouse Rangers A 14
Rangers A made the long trip to Hoyland in Barnsley, Dane Bairstow opening the scoring with a penalty on 30 minutes.
Then, with 10 minutes remaining of the first half Hoyland scored two converted tries. This left Rangers with a lot of work to do in the second half.
Coaches Richard Flynn and Stuart Hardaker stressed at half time that with the wind behind us and a return to basics we would be in with a shout of winning this.
That’s exactly what Rangers did and took the game to Hoyland with Bairstow and Mark Bean moving their side around the field it allowed Paul Fairhurst to make constant inroads into the Hoyland half. When skipper Terry Moon charged over from acting half back to score Rangers where right back in this game. Bairstow added the extras.
Strong running from Hussain and player coach Flynn again took Rangers into Hoyland territory and Moon was again on hand to power over out wide; Bairstow hit the post with the conversion attempt.
With 30 minutes remaining both sides knew that the next score could be crucial and with Rangers in the Vikings half on the last tackle Bairstow hit a drop goal to nudge Rangers in front and on the very next attack hit an almost identical kick to push Rangers even further in front.
This is where Rangers showed true character and defended their line for 25 minutes. Moon, McLean, Flynn, Holroyd and Hussain all fronted up and Bean, Fairhurst and Liahm Thurtle kept the flanks tight with Hoyland now kicking to the corners with every chance they had.
Rangers held out and finished worthy winners. Coach Flynn said after the game. “This was more pleasing than last week’s win, with the way we defended and played for each other it shows what a kind of team we can be.”