Rangers season came to a close as they were downed by deserved victors in Cumbria
Last Saturday saw Rangers season come down to one game when they faced the Champions Ulverston in Cumbria, the winner going through to the Grand Final. Facing a team that had suffered few defeats in the league and away was never going to be easy.
To compound the problem many of the regular squad were out injured or unavailable, with this being a playoff game were unable to call in players from the train on squad, resulting in Rangers only being able to travel with 16 players away. Weather conditions favoured Rangers attracting style of Rugby and the pack still contained a formidable selection of players in Jack Mccarthy, Rubin Holland, Jack Bailey, Steve Jones, Joe Butcher, Henry Davies and Max Horsfall.
Ulugbek Djurabekov move from the back line to the forwards made up with mental toughness and determination what he gave away in size. Rangers went out with the game plan to control the first half dozen sets and keep the completion rates high, they did this with machine-like precision for the first quarter of the game.
After 22 mins the first try of the game came from Josh Hill after Jack McCarthy punched a hole up the field Connor Winfield used the space to draw defenders before dropping off Josh hill into a gap in front of opposition try line. Jordan Green converted and Rangers looked in control.
However, mistakes and ill-discipline followed and it was 6-6 after a quick Ulverston reply, then in a game of tight percentages, a ball bounced well for Ulverston and it was 12-6 to home side with 12 mins in the half to go. But a few lapses in control for Rangers resulted in giving away penalties and the score was 16-6 at halftime.
HALF TIME: Ulverston 16 – 6 Manchester Rangers
The second half started well for Rangers with Max Horsfall storming down the wing to almost score before getting caught by Ulverston defenders as
he looked to pass with a great covering effort. Max set the attacking temp for Rangers who rewarded with repeated sets on the line, but the visitors failed to execute the attacking plays smoothly enough to unlock the champion’s defence.
However, Rangers continued to push Ulverston and 14 minutes into the second half and a spear tackle on Lug saw the Cumbrians reduced to 12 men with the number 8 getting a rest in the sin bin. A series of penalties handed control of the game to Ulverston, despite the man disadvantage, to allow them to extend the lead to 28-6 over Rangers.
However, Manchester is a city that never knows when it is beat and Jack Mcarthy started the revival. Driving through the field to be held down getting a second set of six in Ulverston end of the field. Rubin Holland decided he would drive the ball through to set up a series of attacking plays from Rangers.
That relentless attack saw Tyrone Chipchase dart across to the right side of the field drawing the defence in enough to allow Ulugbek Djurabekov to rocket through the gap in the defence. Old faithful Jordan Green converted, 20 minutes to play and it was 28-12 to Ulverston.
Rangers continued to attack the home team and it was Dan Munt who took the ball off the line brushing the Ulverston backs aside after being the final player in a cross-field move from the Manchester team. However, little remained on the clock and the score was Ulverston 28-16 Rangers.
Onfield confusion resulted in an uncharacteristic defensive error on the line and the final score end Rangers Season for 2018 with a defeat to Ulverston 32-16. Ulverston closed out the game deserved winners and progressed through to the Grand Final, whilst Rangers saw their season ended.
FULL TIME: Ulverston 32 – 16 Manchester Rangers
Manchester Rangers: 16
Tries: Hill, Djurabekov, Munt
Goals: Green (2 from 3)
Manchester Rangers Squad:
- Tyrone Chipchase, 2. Oli Roby, 3. Lug Djurabekov, 4. Dan Munt, 5. Dan Roughley, 6. Josh Hill, 7. Jordan Green, 8. Rubin Holland, 9. Connor Winfield, 10. Steve Jones, 11. Joe Butcher, 12. Jack McCarthy, 13. Max Horsfall, 14. Henry Davies, 15. Jack Bailey, 16. Allan Khonje.