Rams new boys relish first Bulldogs derby

Paul Sykes is relishing playing in his first Heavy Woollen derby when the Rams meet Batley on Boxing Day.
Paul Sykes is relishing playing in his first Heavy Woollen derby when the Rams meet Batley on Boxing Day.
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Dewsbury lad Paul Sykes will be among a host of players getting a first taste of playing in a Heavy Woollen derby when the Rams entertain Batley Bulldogs on Boxing Day.

Sykes is included in a 20-man Rams squad who will be aiming to earn the festive bragging rights and claim the Roy Powell Trophy when the rivals clash on Saturday (kick off noon).

Rams coach Glenn Morrison has also named Sykes as joint captain, along with influential forward Ryan Hepworth, for the 2016 campaign.

While Morrison knows bigger games will follow once the season proper starts, he is determined for his side to put on a show in a festive clash which he is yet to win as a coach.

Morrison said: “Sykes has been to the Boxing Day as a fan and he is champing at the bit to pull on his home town club’s shirt and get out there.

“We have nine players missing through injury but this will give a few of the young boys, who played so well last year, a chance.

“We know the fans want to win the game and get the bragging rights but we also want to use the game to test things out.”

On the joint captaincy, Morrison added: “As a coaching staff we had a long think about who we wanted to captain the side and lead us forward.

“We have a senior player group that the whole playing staff voted to appoint, and I think everybody in the team had Paul Sykes and Ryan Hepworth as part of their selections.”

The Dewsbury squad, along with their families, will stay behind at the club after Saturday’s clash as they have a Christmas party, which also gives supporters chance to mingle with the players.

With the Roy Powell Trophy at stake, Dewsbury will be determined to claim the silverware and kick-start the party in style.