BRIGHOUSE Rangers kept their Championship Division title ambitions on track with a 24-22 win over local Pennine League rivals Illingworth at Russell Way.

The hosts' unyielding and skilful performance keeps them in the hunt in third position, while Illingworth sit third-bottom.

Rangers made a terrific start when hooker Ben Wrightson scampered 40 metres up the middle to set up a quick blindside play that saw wingman Lewis Taylor over in the corner.

At the other end, they had a let-off when visiting wide man Darren Cartwright was held inches short, but soaked up the pressure and were able to work their way back up the pitch.

Taylor caught a high ball on his own line and offloaded to full-back Karl Frankland, who dashed to the halfway line before handing on to stand-off Andy Esmond to race under the sticks, with Frankland adding the simple conversion.

Illingworth then responded with a series of quick manoeuvres that resulted in Cartwright reaching the whitewash, leaving stand-off Luke Sutcliffe to ensure full reward.

The Halifax visitors then took advantage of a charge-down from an attempted Rangers clearance to see second-row forward Luke Read burrow his way to the chalk, Sutcliffe making sure of the conversion to put his side ahead 12-10 at the break.

Brighouse started the second half with the same intensity as the first and earned a rapid reply through a quick tap-and-run penalty to ship the ball out wide for wingman Joe Campbell to cross.

Yet their chances of a third consecutive home win looked in danger following a disastrous show of indiscipline.

Prop Terry Moor was sin-binned following a head-high tackle – which resulted in brawl involving both teams – before second-row forward Gavin Midgely was sent off for a trip to increase the visitors' numerical advantage as they launched a cutting attack down the flanks.

Down by two men, Brighouse defied the odds when centre Anton Ambler produced a ripper offload from out of the back door to put Taylor over for his brace, with Frankland again on target to establish an eight-point lead.

The visitors closed the gap once again when pack-man Warren Thwaite sauntered over unopposed but Rangers produced a classy finish as Frankland threaded through a kick for centre Peter Lopag, who won the race to the corner flag.

Read added a consolation try for Illingworth with his second of the match on the final whistle.