Manchester Rangers winning run continues on after a thrilling 32-26 victory over top of the table Chester Gladiators at Manchester Regional Arena.
The Gladiators, coming in to the fixture boasting an unbeaten record of 13 games in all competitions this season were rightly the favourites on the night, and started off brightly with some good possession in the opening stages.
Rangers first possession of the night didn’t last long, as a big hit from Gladiators Paul Welch forced a knock on. Some superb defence ensued and the home side forced the Gladiators in to touch before being awarded a penalty and the Rangers were now inside the Chester 20m.
Rangers’ Matt Valentine deputising on the wing gained possession after a wide move saw the ball move from left to right as Rangers crossed for the first try of the night.
Two minutes later Rangers were over again as Josh Watson powered over from close range, the visitors at this point, were looking shell shocked. Jordan Green converting this try ticked the score board over to 10 – 0 Rangers in front.
The ten point advantage was to be short lived, as a Rangers error early in the following set saw Jonny Rae capatalise on the loose ball to cross for a converted Try 10 – 6
The visitors brought the scores level when some fine individual work by Aled Davies saw him cross in the left corner for an unconverted try. The Gladiators showing why they are top of the pile in North West Mens League Division 4.
Five minutes later, Jacob Winstanley got in on the act for the rangers after scooting from Dummy Half to barge his way over for his first try at Manchester Regional Arena. Green adding the extras to nudge the Rangers 6 points in front.
With Half Time approaching, Josh Dolan crossed for the home side’s final try of the half. The Rangers were playing an expansive brand of football, and a move similar to the one that saw Valentine cross earlier put his Centre partner Dolan in for another well worked try. Conversion missed, Rangers 10 point advantage had been replenished.
Half Time: Manchester Rangers 20 – 10 Chester Gladiators
Rangers received a penalty early in the second half, Green opting to take the two points and doing so to add another 2 points to the Rangers lead. With some lengthy spells in possession, the Gladiators were starting to build some pressure on the Rangers Tryline.
A knock on saw that pressure relieved, before Joe Moura Da Luz shown great strength and speed after fending off an opponent and racing 80m down his touchline to score in the corner. The Rangers fans going wild. Conversion missed, Rangers now led 26 – 10.
Just as Manchester Rangers had started to look like they were in control of the fixture, the Gladiators came back in spectacular fashion. Three unanswered tries in 20 minutes, the pick of the bunch being a Lee Rusowicz break away from inside his own half to score under the sticks. Davies good with the boot for two of the three tries saw the scoreboard read 26 – 26. The spectators being treated to a fantastic game of Friday night Rugby League in Manchester.
Three minutes later, Rangers second rower David Gooch ran a fine angled run and beat 2 Chester defenders before rounding the fullback and scoring to the left of the uprights to a rapturous roar from the home fans. Green with the conversion, Rangers 6 points to the good once again. 32 – 26.
12 nail biting minutes followed, as the visitors threw everything at the Rangers. Some excellent defence by Josh Dolan and Matt Valentine with 5 minutes to go saw Lee Rusowicz bundled into touch in goal. A close call for the Rangers, both teams showing great desire in both attack and defence respectively.
The Gladiators were now in desperation territory, and were showing great pride in their 100% record when throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the Rangers. A knock on 5 metres out from the Rangers tryline put an end to the pressure, as the Match Official Dave Bradshaw signalled the end of a very entertaining game, much to the delight of the Rangers fans.
A superb advert for Rugby League once again, as the Rangers held on to run out worthy winners. The Gladiators although disappointed, certainly played their part in what will go down as one of the games of the season with both teams playing some very good Rugby.
Full Time: Manchester Rangers 32 – 26 Chester Gladiators
|7th August 2015||7:30 pm||North West Mens League Division 2||2015|
|Manchester Regional Arena|
|5||Joe Moura Da Luz||Centre||1||1||0||0||0|
|6||Private: Kyle Buckley-Mayall||Centre||1||0||0||0||0|
|7||Jordan Green||Scrum Half||1||0||4||0||0|
Head Coach: Steve Molloy