NEWLY-PROMOTED Saddleworth Rangers were left kicking themselves after being held to a 24-24 draw at Myton Warriors in their opening National Conference League, division one match on Saturday (Mar 2).
Rangers were winning 24-10 before suffering a collapse in the last 20 minutes to the frustration of coach Wes Rogers.
He said: “Myton have just been relegated from the premier division and we have been promoted, but I genuinely thought we could win the game.
“I was not happy as we could have won and I regard it as one point lost rather than one gained, though we did leave Hull with something.”
Of the late collapse, Rogers continued: “Myton, played with the wind behind them in the second half and put us under pressure with a couple of 40/20 kicks from which they scored.
“We played with a lot of spirit and it was the sort of game we would have lost eight or nine months ago.”
Rangers had earlier defeated Oldham St Annes to book a place in the final of the Standard Cup against Mayfield on Good Friday and beaten Shaw Cross Sharks in a friendly.
Rogers detected a pattern in all three games, explaining: “We started every game badly, had a good spell and then gone back into our shell.
“If we could give put in a 60-minute performance – not even 80 minutes – we would win games by big margins.
“I am probably being harsh, but the players were also disheartened by the draw and thought they ought to have won.”
Rangers have a rearranged league game at Pilkington Recs on Saturday, March 9 and the following week are at home to Dewsbury Moor.
Rogers added: “We are looking for a good month to start the season as last year we had a bad start.
“We are still a bit off game practice and it will probably take two or three games before we hit the straps.”
Rangers have lost prop Simon Parrish who is having to take a break through business commitments, but the vastly experienced Gavin Dodd has returned to training.
• Rangers’ U16 players Fenton Rogers, Ben Killan and Thomas Whitehead have been named in a 68-player England National Performance Squad.
Rogers and Killan are in the academy at Huddersfield Giants and Whitehead at Warrington Wolves.
There are forthcoming tests against France and Wales.
• Rangers have also had three players selected to feature in a trial game for England Community Lionhearts at Halifax on March 23, Adam Jeffries, Ethan Langhorn and Gareth Morgan.
• Rangers’ U18s beat Hull Dockers 20-12 in the second round of the BARLA National Cup to setup a last-eight tie against Pilkington Recs.