UNDERBANK Rangers sent out a real message of intent to their National Conference League Third Division rivals by thrashing Nottingham Outlaws 74-0 to go second in the table.
The men from Holmfirth ran in 13 tries against the unlucky Outlaws, who were injury-hit and could do nothing to stop Rangers equalling their biggest winning margin this season and recording a third clean sheet in 10 games.
Adam Ryder, Lee St Hilaire, Kris Harrop, Richard Knight and Nick Briggs bagged two apiece with Alex Chatterton, Rob Joyce and Dave Pawson also getting on the scoresheet at The Cross as the huge points haul enabled reigning champions Underbank to leapfrog Warrington Wizards, who beat Coventry Bears 36-16.
The pair are three points behind Hemel Stags, who won 56-0 at St Albans Centurions.
Neil Barrett finished with a personal haul of 22 points with the boot as delighted Rangers player-coach Knight, whose side have a game in hand on Hemel, proclaimed: “This was our third game in seven days (Bramley Buffaloes were beaten 30-12 on Wednesday) and we played really well knowing we had to hit the straps early.
“This was the first time we have played at home and it hasn’t rained, so we capitalised on the nice dry track and scored some good tries.
Knight added: “Whether we score 20, 50 or 100 points, it is always pleasing not to concede and we defended really well.
“No disrespect to Nottingham, but they didn’t ever look like scoring. They didn’t have a set on our line and that came on the back of us completing well and not giving penalties away.”
Rangers signalled their intentions with three tries in the opening 18 minutes.
Ryder and Chatterton brushed off ineffective tackling to go over before skipper St Hilaire reacted quickest to Knight’s pin-point kick to the corner.
Harrop chalked up two well-worked tries either side of a slick Joyce score as Rangers went 32-0 up by the break.
Within two minutes of the restart, Harrop neatly chipped the ball over the Nottingham backline to Chatterton, who released St Hilaire for his second.
Knight grabbed the first of his two unchallenged tries before Aussie back Briggs went over for the first of a brace which came either side of Pawson’s touchdown.
Having opened the scoring, Ryder ended it when his combination of strength, power and pace proved far too much for Nottingham to handle.
Underbank are back in action on Friday, when they head to Bramley for a quick return clash.