SADDLEWORTH Rangers’ Challenge Cup run may be over but there were plenty of reasons to be cheerful.
And coach Sean Whitehead believes they are well-placed for a push at National Conference League glory.
Evan Parry scored the only try in an 18-4 loss to amateur powerhouses Thatto Heath Crusaders, who only scored the game’s first points with the final play of the first half.
Now as all eyes turn to the start of their Division Two campaign on Saturday, March 4 at West Yorkshire side Normanton, Sean believes Rangers can push.
He said: “We dropped a division but last year we were invited into that league. We had a punt and were only a bit short of staying in.
“This year, though, we’re probably where we should be, so hopefully we’ll do well. We’re a bit stronger than we were last year but we haven’t got a big squad. If we can keep injury free, though, we should be all right.
Having defeated Edinburgh Eagles 30-20 in Scotland, the Thatto Heath tie looked a daunting prospect.
But Rangers made much of the early running, with half backs Matt Whitehead and Freddie Wilson guiding them around the pitch and probing.
He added: “It was a big test for us. It’s no secret what Thatto Heath have in their ranks but we had a go and we found out about our boys.
“That’s what it was all about as our season starts on Saturday. That is our priority but we had a dig with a young squad as we had a few out.
“And I’ve seen plenty in training and at the Edinburgh tie. That was our first proper seniors’ game and the trip itself was all part of the bonding and the getting together.”