Brambani steers Rams to cup semi

Dewsbury Rams 38

Batley Bulldogs 22

By Andrew Hunt

DOMINIC Brambani produced a sensational display to send holders Batley Bulldogs crashing out of the Northern Rail Cup and book Dewsbury’s place in the last four for the first time.

Brambani landed nine goals from as many attempts, several from long range, while his kicking out of hand caused Batley problems all afternoon.

There was no quarter given as the two sides tore into each other in what will be remembered as one of the most entertaining Heavy Woollen derbies in years.

Luke Blake returned from an early head injury and supported Brambani in taking the Rams forward. There was another big effort from Rob Spicer, while James Lockwood also produced a storming effort, capped by two tries.

Brambani drew first blood with a penalty and soon after Blake brought the Rams forwards into play before Brambani produced a lovely pass to send Lockwood through a gap and over for the try, which Brambani converted.

The Bulldogs then had a terrific spell which saw them score three tries in eight minutes just before half-time.

Handforth received the ball and feigned a pass before darting through a gap and over for a fine individual try which he converted.

Four minutes later Sean Hesketh met a ball at pace and despite the attention of four Dewsbury defenders, he had the strength to get over the line and plant the ball down. Handforth’s conversion put Batley 12-8 ahead.

Things improved further for the Bulldogs as they stretched Dewsbury out wide and former Ram Alex Bretherton forced his way over.

Dewsbury responded in style after the break and Brambani hammered a first minute penalty into the corner before Ayden Faal barged his way over, with Brambani converting.

Batley indiscipline led to Brambani landing a 40-yard goal and soon after he hammered another penalty from even further out straight between the posts to edge the Rams 18-16 ahead.

Batley were not prepared to relinquish their hold on the cup without a fight and they responded like true champions and Byron Smith stormed over to the left of the posts, with Handforth converting.

Scott Turner was twice held close to the line as Dewsbury tried to hit back but they had the momentum and as injuries took their toll on Batley, the Rams took full advantage in the final 13 minutes

Brambani stabbed to the in-goal area and Lockwood did superbly to leap and palm the ball away from the dead ball line before scrambling to catch it on the full to score a wonderful try, which Brambani goaled.

Two minutes later, Blake showed great feet to jink through the defence and force his way over and Brambani landed his seventh goal.

Faal added his second try, racing through a tiring Batley defence and Brambani converted to spark early celebrations among Rams supporters.

In the final minute, Dewsbury were awarded a penalty on the left touchline on halfway.

Brambani lofted a mighty kick which comfortably sailed between the posts to cap a man-of-the-match display.

Dewsbury Rams: Wainwright; A Smith, Turner, Cosgrove, Buchanan; Faal, Brambani, Hirst, Wandless, Lockwood, Bibb, Spicer, Blake. Subs: Menzies, Horton, Wilson, Emblem.

Batley Bulldogs: Preece; Reittie, Walton, Maun, Campbell; Handforth, Mennell; B Smith, Lythe, Hasketh, Bretherton, Manning, Potter. Subs: Brown, Toohey, Martin, Tootill.

Referee: Ronnie Laughton (Barnsley). Attendance: 1643.