THE Macleay Valley Rangers took first first blood in their battle with cross-town rivals the Kempsey Saints with a 3-1 victory at a rain soaked Dangar St on Saturday.
The game was played in pouring rain but both teams adapted well to the conditions on a field which according according to club officials “needed a drink” that held up pretty well underfoot.
Macleay Valley Rangers coach Darren Morn said the game was an important win for the club in difficult conditions.
“The 3-1 score line was a good result for us at this time of the year with the first round of games nearly completed,” he said.
“We were level with the Saints but this has put has ahead of them on the ladder with a lot of our difficult away road games, including three trips to the Manning Valley, already played.”
Torrential rain was a feature of the game but Morn said it was up to the players and coaches to adapt their game to the conditions.
“We had the flood lights on right from the kick-off and by the time we finished up at 4.45pm it was getting pretty dark,” Morn said.
“In these conditions you have to work hard and mark your opponent closely to try and shut them down straight away or you will spend the day chasing and that’s where you use up your energy and it can make it a long day.
We scored first through Jeremy Masters but then the Saints equalised before the half. Masters scored another in the scenod half and Daniel Saul got on the score sheet as well.
Morn said the game was also a surprising success for the Macleay Valley Home Hospice who were the beneficiaries of the special derby day with the Saints.
“The hospice ladies were set up on the balcony of the club selling cakes and I believe they were pretty happy with how it went,” he said. They kicked on later at the RSL for a function and sold some more raffle tickets so it worked out pretty well.”
The Rangers front up to last placed Port FC in Port Macquarie this week for a crucial game and the Kempsey Saints play second placed Wallis Lakes at their Eden St. home ground.
After eight games the Rangers are now in fourth place, three points clear of the Kempsey Saints who sit sixth on the ladder.