Underbank Rangers to fundraise to support former players fighting Australian bushfires

James Gordon

Former Underbank players Matt Byatt and Nath Robinson (right)

The links between a Huddersfield community club and the volunteers tackling the bush fires in Australia will be strengthened further this weekend when Underbank Rangers take on Lock Lane (Castleford) in the Challenge Cup. 

The Holmfirth NCL Premier Division side aim to make it through to the next round of the cup – and raise money through donations to help former players and their colleagues battling the blazes threatening huge parts of New South Wales, Victoria and other states.

Aussie Matty Byatt played for Underbank in 2018 but now he is back Down Under as one of thousands of volunteer fire-fighters, while English-born Nath Robinson (who played in Holmfirth in seasons 2016/2017/201) is also on the front line.

Matty Gruber, who starred for Underbank last season, is a full time fire-fighter who has just flown home to join the battle.

Underbank Coach Richard Knight said: “After a conversation with our ex-chairman, Michael Nasey, who spends half his year in Australia, we thought it was only right to try to raise some money to send over.

“Every day over the past few weeks I have been speaking to ex-players, who are now friends, and hearing about the chaos these fires are causing.

“The club have always had a great relationship with players from Australia. The bravery the fire fighters are showin, especially the volunteers who have very limited training, is unreal and the club are so proud of our very own Nathan Robinson and Matty Byatt.”

The fund-raising Challenge Cup match is this Saturday (January 11) at Underbank Rangers’ Dunford Road ground, Holmfirth HD9 2RR. Kick-off 1.30pm.