SADDLEWORTH Rangers recorded an important 38-16 home win against Milford in a division three basement battle in National Conference League.
It was only Rangers’ second win from eight league games, though the previous week they gave leaders Hull Dockers the fright of their lives, losing 23-17.
And joint coach Sean Whitehead can see improvements as win against bottom-club Milford lifted them to third bottom and out of the relegation places.
Rangers have also had their squad strengthened by the signing of four new players, three of whom have returned to the club.
Joe Howe, who plays in the backs line, is back after a spell at Rochdale Hornets and forward/utility player Sam Eyres who has left Salford Red Devils.
Pacy winger Tyrone Chipchase, another former player, simply turned up and asked to rejoin while Rob Charles, who also plays in the backs, has arrived from Oldham St Annes.
Whitehead said: “The four new players have bolstered the squad and provided more competition which can only be good.
“They could not have arrived at a better time as we have picked up a few injuries.”
Whitehead added the win against Milford has lifted confidence as did their performance the previous week against the leaders when they lost by six points.
“We were unlucky against Dockers and disappointed we were not able to see out the game as we were ahead and should have beaten them,” he explained.
“You also need luck and, when you are down at the bottom, you don’t get it. That defeat still hurts after coming so close to beating them.
“It is a case of fine margins and turning those little losses into little wins. I have always maintained we were a couple of players away from being a good side and the newcomers have made a difference.
“We still have a very young team, especially in the backs, but the players are working hard and are definitely improving.
“And of the games we have lost (three by single figure margins) we have only been well beaten once at Stanningley.”
Whitehead added it was always going to be a case of survival this season after they won a reprieve from relegation after Underbank folded.
“The goal was always to stay in this division and, if we do this, it would be a great achievement,” he added, maintaining it is a long-term project to rebuild the senior side.
Rangers travel to Cumbria on Saturday, May 14 to play second-placed Kells, a game which Whitehead describes as a free hit.
“We can go and play with freedom as we will not be expected to win,” he explained.
“We have it in us to beat them as the performance against Hull Dockers showed.”
• The next event organised by CraggRunners’ Darren Graham in the Alderman’s Ascent on Saturday, May 14, noon start from Churchill Playing Fields.
It is a five-mile fell race which is to raise funds for the junior teams at Saddleworth Rangers.
Entries will be accepted on the day or in advance at www.sientries.co.uk