Dewsbury Rams 38
A CONVERTED try three minutes from the end saw Dewsbury Rams edged out in a see-saw first Northern Rail Cup group game at Toulouse last Saturday.
It was reminiscent of last season’s league game when the Rams looked good going into the closing minutes only for a late score to deny them.
After a terrible start, when they trailed 16-0 after just a quarter of an hour, the Rams dug in and showed determination to draw level just after the break.
Warren Jowitt’s side, with prop Keegan Hirst an impressive figure and substitute Josh Tonks an impact at loose forward, then drove on to build a 10-point lead with 15 minutes left but the hosts came back and a try from former Sheffield Eagles hooker Craig Cook, converted by Australian scrum-half Josh Lewis on his debut, saw Toulouse inch home.
Dewsbury looked good on attack but paid for errors, particularly on defence. Despite this they scored the same number of tries as the hosts with seven and the final conversion made the difference.
More bad news for Dewsbury came when srand-off Pat Walker left the field after half-an-hour with broken bones in a hand.
Toulouse roared into the lead after just four minutes when a neat break by former Cronulla Sharks half-back Lewis saw him send centre Bruno Ormeno clear to touch down at the left corner.
Lewis added the conversion and he was on target again three minutes later after he too had touched down.
Dewsbury responded well but Dominic Brambani lost possession near the hosts’ line before Toulouse stormed back and Lewis again sent Ormeno clear for his second try to make it 16-0.
The Rams finally woke to their task and with Brambani at the heart of their best moments, they got on the board after 20 minutes when a quick tap penalty was worked out to winger Austin Buchanan who raced 70 yards for a fine try.
Walker converted and seven minutes later Brambani’s pass sent James Craven over out wide for an unconverted score.
Despite the loss of Walker, Dewsbury drew level seven minutes before half-time when Scott Turner scored a try which Brambani converted but Toulouse responded a minute later. Substitute Eric Anselme made an immediate impression with a try, converted by Lewis to see the hosts 22-16 ahead at the break.
Dewsbury again drew level five minutes into the second half as Luke Menzies capped a fine effort with a try which was converted by Brambani.
Anselme replied with his second try soon after, goaled by Lewis, but in the 50th minute a neat Brambani kick saw Buchanan pounce to score his second try.
More good work from the Rams brought reward in the 55th minute as they hit the front when strong running James Lockwood, who had an impressive game, powered through the defence to touch down and Brambani added the goal.
Both sides were reduced to 12 men as Dewsbury’s Elliott Cosgrove and Teli Pelo of Toulouse were sin-binned after a flare-up but the Rams battled on and seemed to have struck a decisive blow 15 minutes from time when Craven’s fine display was crowned by a second try which Brambani converted to see them 38-28 ahead.
A Bramabani kick just evaded Anthony England’s grasp near the French line before Toulouse responded when prop Pelo crashed over for a try between the posts 10 minutes from time and Lewis added the simple goal.
Dewsbury rallied again and a fine move appeared to give Craven the chance of a hat-trick only to be denied by a fine tackle before the hosts struck the crucial blow.
Toulouse rumbled upfield and as the pressure built Cook scored a trademark try when he managed to burrow over from close range three minutes from time for a try to level the scores. Lewis’s conversion left the Rams with only a bonus point to show for their efforts.
Toulouse: Vienes, Payan, Planas, Ormeno, Olari; Nicholls, Lewis; Worth, Cook, Pelo, Larroyer, Tisseyre, Houles. Subs: Maria, Anselme, Corcoran, White.
Dewsbury Rams: Craven; Wainwright, Faal, Turner, Buchanan; Walker, Brambani; England, Horton, Hirst, Spicer, Lockwood, Roberts. Subs: Tonks, Menzies, Cosgrove, Bibb.
Referee: Gareth Hewer (Whitehaven).