Underbank Rangers coach Richard Knight is confident his team will deliver a strong start to the league next month, despite Challenge Cup defeat to Wath Brow.
Bank fell to the Cumbrian Premier Division outfit, 10-24, in their second round clash at Laund Hill.
But with the match deemed, a ‘tight affair,’ positives oozed from the Rangers performance and Knight was on hand to declare how proud he was of “his lads.”
He said: “I couldn’t ask for any more. You could see the effort they put in was a hundred per cent and in fairness, we took the game to our opponents today.
“We were in it till the end, and we were winning at half time and at that point we were in control.
“The score line doesn’t reflect how the game went.”
The strong performance had connotations of a great togetherness amongst the Rangers squad.
But Knight didn’t want to deflect praise away from some quality individual displays.
“I was extremely pleased with all the lads, but Kris Harrop was so impressive once again. He has that ‘never-say-die’ attitude and you always know what you going to get from him.
“Sam Dalby and Luke Karolozuk chewed up a lot of ground today and both deserve credit along with Lee St Hilaire who put in a great shift and was rewarded with two tries,” said Knight.
With the NCL Division Three season starting at the back end of April, Underbank will look to recent successes in this year’s Challenge Cup to help provoke a powerful start to their league campaign.
“This cup run can, and should be seen as an achievement for us.
“We got through to the second round, which we had never done before, and in doing so we dismissed of one of Cumbria’s top sides, Seaton Rangers, as well as Stanley Rangers who are two divisions above us.
“This comes of the back of hard work and strong will. We will look to take that attitude into our first league game against Hemel next month and I’m confident we will do well,” said Knight.
“Unfortunately, today our opposition got the better of us in the latter stages and they started to play the game in the right areas of the pitch and that’s what punished us.
“They are a great side and you could see that on the pitch. They are used to playing top side opposition week in week out and it showed in the end.”
The five week gap between now and the next game will prove valuable in allowing Underbank to analyse what went wrong against Wath Brow and provide time to develop any areas that require work.
“We will look at what went wrong. We now have plenty of time to stiffen up areas of weakness and develop that cutting edge. So rest assured, we will be ready for Hemel on April 21st,” warned Knight.