NCL Match Report - UNDERBANK RANGERS 60 HULL DOCKERS 10
Big win keeps Rangers top of the league
Underbank weren’t at their clinical best, but were still too quick and powerful for a spirited Hull Dockers, who tried manfully to stem the flow of scores, as Rangers ran in ten converted tries for an emphatic victory and two more league points to maintain their unbeaten start to the 2017 NCL Division One campaign and remained top of the league table with their fifth success on the spin. The win was once again built on punishing and sometimes brutal defence that harried the Dockers into making errors all afternoon, errors that were then converted into high speed attacks that put the visitors to the sword at regular intervals throughout the game. Ten tries were scored in total highlighted by a second half hat trick of hat tricks from right wing Sam Ansell (he also scored three tries in each of the previous two games against Milford and Blackbrook), and braces for hard working hooker Sam Rochford and left wing Will England. Half back Luke Pogson successfully kicked all ten conversions meaning he has not missed the target all season amassing 33 goals in the first five matches. Underbank now have a week off to rest up and recharge the batteries before they go to Featherstone Lions on April 22nd.
Rangers had hooker Sam Rochford returning in place of Andy Boothroyd, who broke his hand the previous weekend in the big win over Blackbrook. Jordan Williams and Lewis Peet returned to the replacements bench in place of Luke Roberts and recent signing Dave Dyson, but other than that the squad remained unchanged as Underbank exploited the near perfect conditions for quick fluent rugby on a sunny and warm spring afternoon.
It only took two minutes for the hosts to open the scoring as the ball was moved quickly to the left for centre Joey Eichner to provide the final pass for Will England to race over. An identical finish then occurred on 13 minutes following a Sam Ansell line break and 60 metre dash, as England grabbed his second. Two Pogson conversions gave Underbank a commanding 12-0 lead after just 15 minutes elapsed. Against the run of play, the Dockers were surprisingly next to score. After gaining a needless penalty conceded by Rangers for interference at the ruck, the visitors marched down the field and when the ball was worked to left wing Elliot Hepworth he bamboozled four would-be unsuccessful tacklers on a mazy run to the line for a tremendous finish. Hooker Steve Batty added the extras and Hull were back in the game if only momentarily as Underbank upped the tempo and added three more tries in the final fifteen minutes of the half. Firstly centre Alex Chatterton shrugged off the attention of some weak attempted tackles to cross the stripe. Next following a strong run from front row forward Chad Bain, hooker Sam Rochford scooted over, and then after lock forward and man of the match Craig Williams burst through he timed his pass superbly to the supporting full back Kris Harrop who raced over from 50 metres. The three converted scores made the half time score 30-6 and essentially the game was won.
Any thoughts that Hull Dockers had of getting back into it soon disappeared at the start of the second half Sam Ansell then started his one-man destruction show. Just five minutes into the second half with Hull in possession the ball was spilt on half way and Harrop picked up and released Ansell on a 50 metre dash down the touchline to score. Then with the Dockers looking like they may score, Ansell picked off a potential try scoring pass to race the length of the field and grab his second try in seven minutes. Ansell completed his treble on 73 minutes taking a quick penalty restart to race 80 metres to touch down. In between times Rochford grabbed his second four-pointer on 59 minutes, as he dummied his way through the Hull defence, and back rower Casey Clark powered his way over from 30 metres as the visitors defence melted away in the warm weather conditions. The visitors did grab a score of their own as full back Dan Suddaby raced over on 65 minutes, but it was mere consolation after another impressive showing from Underbank as they cemented their position at the top of the league.