In what was being billed as a must win game for both clubs, Manchester Rangers suffer agonising defeat in the dying moments of Friday night’s fixture with Blackpool Scorpions at Manchester Regional Arena.
Despite a disastrous first 40 minutes for the home side – who trailed by 14 points at the break – once again the Rangers served up yet another fantastic spectacle under the lights of the Regional Arena after an enthralling contest with Blackpool Scorpions in North West Men’s League Division 2.
Molloy’s Rangers side headed into the fixture looking to secure a 2016 double over the Scorpions, a team that sat just 1 point below them in the league standings prior to kick off on Friday night.
The opening exchanges of the contest saw both sets of players looking to gain good field position with Blackpool going close in their opening possession whilst some resolute Rangers defence held them out to force a turn-over of possession. The Scorpions were on the score sheet on the 7th minute when some fantastic footwork by Matt Rowley saw the full back cross the whitewash before the lead was extended by two points via an Anthony Green conversion.
Things went from bad to worse for the home side as they lost the services of Martin Southwell early on with a nasty looking arm injury. It didn’t take the scorpions long to further compound the misery for the Rangers as Matt Rowley once again waltzed his way through the defensive line and racing away from 50 out to score his second of the night. Anthony Green once again good with the boot to see the visitors lead 0 – 12.
In the closing stages of the half Manchester Rangers ill-discipline led to the visitors being awarded a penalty. Anthony Green slotted home from bang in front of the stick to put his side 14 points to the good.
Half Time: Manchester Rangers 0 – 14 Blackpool Scorpions
In what has been a consistent tale to the Rangers season, trailing at the break, Molloys men needed to mount a comeback and the home fans didn’t have long to wait as Ricky Ward squeezed his way over the line in the corner one minute into the second half to put the Rangers on the board. Rangers captain Jordan Green cut the deficit with a fine conversion from the touchline. 6 – 12.
Rangers seemed to have turned a corner in the game and by this point were doing all the running. Some fine individual play by Ben Marsden saw him break through the Scorpions line on his way under the posts for a great Rangers try which put the home side right back in it with 30 minutes of the half to go. Green once again good with the boot, his side now trailing by 2 points.
The Scorpions showed some great defence in the following set as the Rangers went close to scoring back to back try’s. A stalemate ensued as both teams tried their luck in what had quickly become a free flowing and entertaining fixture.
In the 55th minute the home side were on the scoreboard again! Marsden once again powering through some tired Scorpions defence as the Rangers pressure started to tell. Jordan Green making his third conversion of the night to put the Rangers 4 points clear in the lead for the first time in the encounter. 18 – 14.
Dave Ratcliffe’s Blackpool side were not for giving in just yet and the contest started to resemble that of an NBA game with both sides playing some fantastic end to end Rugby League. The Scorpions scored two try’s in quick succession to re take the lead. James Cunliffe going over in the corner before Jordan Huddort collected from a McCool error to go under the sticks. The visitors good with the boot for the latter of those to try’s to lead 18 – 24.
With 7 minutes’ left on the clock, neither side were willing to give up the game and the Rangers began to throw their all at the Scorpions line. Joe Moura da Luz capped off a fine individual performance with a try on the last tackle for the Rangers. Unsuccessful conversion by Jordan Green saw the scores tired at 24 – 24.
The final 5 minutes were as frantic as the last as both sides scored a further try each. Blackpool’s Troy Ledger taken advantage of some tired yet sloppy Rangers defence to cross for his sides final try of the evening. Tyrone Chipchase replied for the home side with a superb team effort which left Jordan Green the opportunity to put the Rangers ahead with 1 minute to go. Unfortunately, Green failed with the boot which left the scores tired at 28-28 with less than a minute remaining.
Rangers would have one last throw at the dice to get up the field to try and win the game, from the kick off Rangers hearts were broken as a knock on awarded Blackpool possession ten metres out.
As the seconds ticked by, the Rangers could only hope to cling on for a share of the spoils but this was not to be. The Scorpions put the game to bed with a drop goal with seconds left on the clock to ensure that they went home with two points and leap frog the Rangers on the league ladder.
Full Time: Manchester Rangers 28 – 29 Blackpool Scorpions
Despite the agonising nature of the defeat by Blackpool Scorpions one thing is for sure, the Rangers are certainly providing some entertaining Rugby League at Manchester Regional Arena.
Rangers face Leigh East next time out in a game which could prove to be pivotal in the Manchester side’s season.
|5th August 2016||7:00 pm||North West Mens League Division 2||2016|
|Manchester Regional Arena|
|31||Private: Ben Marsden||Hooker||1||2||0||0||0|
|6||Ben Steele||Stand Off||1||0||0||0||0|
|5||Joe Moura Da Luz||Wing||1||1||0||0||0|
|7||Jordan Green||Scrum Half||1||0||4||0||0|