First half shocker costs Rams dear

Dewsbury Rams 18

Featherstone Rovers 38

By James Stott

Dewsbury Rams produced a spirited second-half performance in last Sunday’s Co-operative Championship West Yorkshire derby but it wasn’t enough to stop Featherstone Rovers claiming the spoils.

Former Dewsbury scrum-half Liam Finn was at the centre of Featherstone’s first-half masterclass which saw them run in six tries and 32 unanswered points. In the end it was too much for the Rams to claw back but pride was salvaged after the break as Dewsbury showed more desire and determination.

The Rams have now gone seven league games without a win but are improving on their early season form with recent performances against Widnes and Barrow pleasing coach Warren Jowitt.

On loan from Super League side Catalan Dragons, debutant William Barthau was lively in the opening exchanges for Dewsbury but the Rovers soon worked their way upfield with strong running from Michael Haley and Stuart Dickens creating havoc and punching holes in the Rams defence.

Evasive half-back Finn sprang into action and another former Dewsbury player Andrew Bostock was on hand to barge over for the opening try.

Dewsbury were making costly mistakes in attack and when Elliot Hodgson spilled the ball close to his line Stuart Dickens made them pay as he crashed through the defence for a try which Finn goaled.

The onslaught continued as Tim Spears and Haley crossed for easy tries to which Finn tagged on the extras. Suddenly the Rams found themselves 22-0 down after 16 minutes.

Rob Spicer and Keegan Hirst stopped further Rovers scores with some solid defence but near the breakKirk Netherton soon got them back into the swing of things with a try shortly followed by Matty Dale’s score and Finn’s goal to make it 32-0.

What Dewsbury would have given for the creativity of Finn, the speed of Bryn Powell and strength of Bostock to walk back into the home changing room at the interval.

Warren Jowitt’s side came out with more vigour, aggression and purpose to their play after the break. Playing with the conditions to their advantage the Rams were pushing hard and the endeavour of Ayden Faal paid dividends as he touched down after Powell fumbled the ball on his line. Dominic Brambani added two more points.

Buoyed by their good fortune Dewsbury’s Brambani found his way into the game and was on the end of Faal’s cheeky offload moments later to squeeze in and another conversion reduced the deficit further. The home side were back in the game but couldn’t force another score to really challenge Featherstone’s healthy lead.

Any hopes the Rams harboured of a comeback were dashed after 65 minutes when Ross Divorty grabbed a deserved try which Finn converted. The Rams couldn’t salvage a bonus point but did add a late consolation through an Elliot Cosgrove try and a Patrick Walker goal.

Dewsbury Rams: Hodgson, Wainwright, Turner, Faal, Buchanan, Barthau, Brambani, England, S.Glassell, Hirst, Spicer, Cosgrove, Tonks. Subs: Emblem, Smith, P.Walker, Lockwood.

Featherstone Rovers: Hardman, Powell, Smeaton, Bostock, Hepworth, Kain, Finn, Haley, Kaye, Dickens, Grayshon, Spears, Dale. Subs: Mvududu, Divorty, Netherton, Worthington.

Referee: Matt Thomason. Att: 1,167