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Saturday, 30 August 2014

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Brocky: Give us a day to remember

EGREMONT Rangers’ delighted coach, John Brocklebank, says he wants a ‘day to remember’ for his battle-hardened troops when the third round draw of the Challenge Cup takes place next week.

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PRAISED: Egremont’s David Hartley squaring up to Wath Brow

Rangers caused one of the upsets of the second round in the prestigious competition, when they saw off neighbours Wath Brow Hornets to march forward.

And now they will hopefully be rewarded with a tie against one of the Championship clubs – and there are no prizes for guessing who they have their sights set on.

“It would be fantastic to get a local professional team like Whitehaven or Workington,” said Brocklebank.

“We would give them due respect and obviously we would start as under-dogs but it would be great for the community to watch.

“I think we want a day to remember and I don’t think many of my young lads have played against a professional team before.

“And it would be great to play before your friends and family. If we got one of those sides it wouldn’t matter whether we were home or away it would just be fantastic for everybody.”

The third round draw will take place on Tuesday, with all the Championship and Championship One sides entering the fray – and Brocklebank says his side thoroughly deserve to be there.

They started Saturday’s home game against the Hornets as under-dogs, playing their rugby two divisions below them in the Conference League but ended it triumphant, coming back from 10-0 down to win 22-10.

“We are just over the moon and I think it gives us a stick in the ground to show we have improved from the last time that we played Wath Brow,” he added.

“Everyone in the town was delighted for us and there was great support on the day for both sides.

“I would just like to say fair play to my young players who have stood up and worked hard, they deserve everything that they get.”

Brocklebank also praised Wath Brow, who he says gave them an extremely stern test.

He said: “Wath Brow played really well and they drove us hard. Their forwards tried to dominate us but we maintained our energy levels and had two to four men in every tackle but they still got back to make the next one.

“We controlled the ruck well, even though they kept coming at us. We just had to keep going, especially playing uphill in the first half, we knew we needed to keep them to just a couple of scores and we were just 10-0 down at the break.

“Then, with the hill to our advantage, that proved key to the victory in the second half.”

Despite going up against a bigger pack in Wath Brow, Brocklebank says some of his players really stepped up to the mark.

He had praise for all the team but in particular the work of David Hartley.

“David interchanged between prop, second row and loose forward through the game and was just outstanding,” he said.

“I also thought that Alistair Leak at scrum half and Leon Crellin on the wing, who are just 18 and 17 respectively, chased all the long kicks tirelessly from John Paul Brocklebank and that gave us some great field position.

“We had another 17-year-old on the other wing in Matthew Bewsher while Tom Whalley, also 17, made his debut for the first team at prop in a local derby and was outstanding.”

Official man of the match was Blake Mahovic, who Brocklebank added was ‘full of power and strength’ throughout.

And son John Paul’s kicking game also helped immensely while under pressure in the second half.

But now the team will have to wait with baited breath until Tuesday, to see where their Challenge Cup adventure will take them next.

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