Underbank Rangers maintained second spot in the RLC National table with a 13-try, 70-4 demolition of Liverpool Buccaneers in the Holmfirth sunshine. In-form centre Shaun Mitchell led the way with his second successive hat trick of tries to join wing partner Richard Aka
as the clubâ€™s top try scorers with 15 for the season. Rangers totally dominated proceedings from start to finish against a valiant Liverpool side who never threw in the towel but were totally outplayed on the day.
The tone for the contest was set as early as the fourth minute when Rangers stand-off Chris Thorley burst through two would-be tacklers and raced over direct from a scrum. Half-back partner Neil Barrett
added the conversion, the first of nine successes on the day. The lead was doubled three minutes later as hooker Joe Worthington scooted over from acting half-back after the visitors were penalised for being offside. Liverpool didnâ€™t help their cause when they kicked the restart out on the full and Rangers marched up field for Thorley to complete his brace of tries when he powered through three defenders. Outstanding prop Richard Lofthouse then broke through the Buccaneers defence, raced 30m and handed on to the supporting Thorley who returned the ball to the trailing Lofthouse who crashed over for a deserved score. Liverpool then enjoyed some respite as they had the better of the field position and possession, but despite their best efforts and promptings of half-backs Sean Forber and Martin Gambles, they came away from the Rangersâ€™ line empty handed, and as they spread the ball wide Rangersâ€™ centre Mitchell picked off a long pass and raced 70m for a tremendous interception try to complete the first-half scoring.
The second period was for the best part one-way traffic as Underbank put their opponents to the sword. Replacement Tom Sharrock was first to score his maiden try for the club as Underbank displayed all their skills and scored some sparkling tries. Winger Richard Flooks was next to cross, followed quickly by Aussie James Oâ€™Brien notching his first score of the campaign, and the scoring was completed for the home side with Mitchell completing his hat trick and outstanding loose forward Darren Hawkyard deservedly scoring a hat trick himself. With a 70-0 scoreline, Liverpool then played their best rugby of the afternoon and they deservedly were rewarded when their best player, James Lacey, combined with centre Ian Stanley to send winger Liam Appleton over in the corner for a consolation score.