Manchester Rangers poor run of form continued as they fell just short in a crucial encounter with Leigh East.
Manchester Rangers made the journey to Leigh looking to turn around their recent run of form and pick up 2 vital league points. It wasn’t to be however as the home side showed more resilience to run out winners, despite a slow start.
With a gale blowing from end to end and intermittent heavy showers the conditions made for a horrible game of Rugby League and both teams made a lot of errors in a scrappy but physical encounter. The first try of the game came quickly as Leigh East made an error from the kick off and Manchester Rangers punished immediately. Nick Ryan running a strong lead line was found by a clever short ball from hooker, Josh Hill, to power over under the sticks. Jordan Green adding the extras to give Rangers a dream start to the game.
A comedy of errors optimised the afternoons game throughout the next period, as neither side looked like they wanted to keep the ball. It was eventually Leigh East who broke the pattern as they scored from a well worked scrum play. Leigh East’s full back showing too much pace get on the outside of the Rangers defence and race 50m to cross. The conversion unsuccessful on this occasion.
Rangers took share of the possession and further extended their lead after 25 minutes to re open the gap of six points. As the ball was worked wide to Full Back, Tyrone Chipchase, the Number 1 spotted a gap in the East defence and used his pace to exploit their edge. Jordan Green failing to add the extras from out wide.
It was Rangers who would score again as they looked to build a dominating lead over their Leigh opponents and it was former East player, Josh Hill, who came up with the goods. Scooting over from dummy half he powered his way through two Leigh defenders and extending his reach to extend the Manchester lead. Jordan Green missing the conversion. The final points of the half would again go the Rangers way as Jordan Green kicked a penalty following an infringement from the East side.
HALF TIME: Leigh East A 4 – 16 Manchester Rangers
The second half started disastrously for Manchester Rangers and continued down a similar path for the remaining 40 minutes. It took just 4 minutes for Leigh to
build pressure on the Rangers line and eventually cross. The ball worked to their right centre who showed great strength to power over lacklustre Rangers defence. Conversion unsuccesful.
The collapse continued as Leigh crossed for another try, this time converted which put the Manchester side under all the pressure. Still 2 points adrift, Leigh continually hammered against the Manchester defence which remained resolute for large periods. Rangers blew two try scoring opportunities through poor decisions and had a third ruled out by the referee from a dubious forward pass call.
However, Leigh East continued to look the better side in the second half and clearly dominated that period. East drew the game level as they kicked a penalty, before delivering a hammer blow with just 5 minutes remaining with an excellent drop goal. The pain was further compounded when just 1 minute later, Leigh crossed for a converted try which out the game out of the hands of the Rangers side.
FULL TIME: Leigh East A 23 – 16 Manchester Rangers
Manchester Rangers: 16
Tries: Ryan, Chipchase, Hill.
Goals: Green (2 from 4)
Man of the Match: Rubin Holland
Manchester Rangers Squad: 1. Tyrone Chipchase, 2. George Edge, 3. Tyrone Parsonage, 4. Max Horsfall, 5. Matt Valentine, 6. Ben Steele, 7. Jordan Green, 8. Joe Regan, 9. Josh Hill, 10. Nick Ryan, 11. Joe Collins, 12. Rubin Holland, 13. Ricky Ward, 14. Jubril Olajide, 15. Jack McCarthy, 16. Steve Molloy ,17. Dougie Saya