Dewsbury Rams 16
Barrow Raiders 12
By Andrew Hunt
DEWSBURY Rams produced a superb team effort to overcome a robust Barrow Raiders and book a place in the quarter-finals of the Northern Rail Cup.
It was a cracking tie as both packs slugged it out in thick mud at Tetley’s Stadium.
Scrum-half Dominic Brambani produced a terrific display as his long kicks continually forced Barrow back towards their line, while he landed six goals from as many attempts, despite the atrocious conditions.
Props Anthony England and Keegan Hirst revelled in the conditions as they drove Dewsbury forward against a bigger Barrow pack, with good support coming from Rob Spicer.
James Craven had another excellent game at full-back and turned defence into attack on several occasions with long runs from close to his own try line.
Both sides spent time down to 12 men as Barrow’s Matt James and Jordan Tansey, on his home debut for the Rams, had spells in the sin-bin.
Dewsbury had two glorious chances to take the lead in the opening five minutes as Brambani received the ball and ran out wide to the right before producing a lovely kick back inside.
Tansey leapt above Raiders full-back Zeb Luizi to gather the ball but, with a clear run to the posts, referee Craig Halloran pulled him back judging he had impeded the defender.
As Dewsbury came again, busy acting half-back Luke Blake popped a lovely short ball up for James Lockwood to crash over the try line but he was judged to have been held up and the effort was ruled out.
Barrow drew first blood in the 11th minute as they moved the ball right and loose forward Ned Catic barged over wide out, with Jamie Rooney adding a fine conversion.
Brambani reduced the arrears with a long range penalty and five minutes later, the Rams scrum-half was clattered into by Barrow substitute James, who was sin-binned.
Although Brambani slotted over the resulting penalty, Barrow’s defence dug in to prevent Dewsbury from scoring further points while they were down to 12 men.
Barrow produced a 30th minute attack which ended when Rooney launched a huge bomb and Craven did superbly well to gather under the crossbar.
Craven threw the ball out to the ‘25 and Michael Wainwright was alert to take the tap and race clear but referee Halloran angered Rams supporters by pulling the winger back and ordering the tap to be re-taken.
Barrow failed to find touch with a penalty and Craven launched a Rams counter attack with a storming run before the Raiders were penalised for holding down as the hooter sounded.
Brambani held his nerve to land the touchline goal with the last kick of the half to level matters at 6-6.
Barrow’s Michael Knowles was next to be frustrated by Mr Halloran as he looked to have planted the ball over the line following a fierce drive but was judged to have been held up.
It was then Dewsbury’s turn to attack and Tansey dived to try and catch a Brambani chip to the try line. The stand-off knocked on and then threw the ball over the fence in frustration and he was sin-binned.
However, it was while down to 12-men that the Rams struck with the decisive try as Brambani spotted a gap and raced through before sending the supporting England over between the posts.
Brambani landed the simple conversion and was on hand again soon after with another long-range penalty goal after Blake was held down in a tackle.
Barrow hit back in the 63rd minute as Martin Ostler bounced off a tackler and over for a try which Rooney converted to reduce the deficit to 14-12.
Brambani continued to dictate play and he hoisted an up-and-under which bounced favourably for Craven but as he raced clear and looked a certain try scorer, play was brought back only for Dewsbury to be awarded the penalty for offside and Brambani tagged on his sixth goal.
Barrow almost hit back five minutes from full-time after Dewsbury conceded a penalty but superb defending close to their line kept them at bay and the Rams held on for victory, which sees them into the knock-out stages.
Dewsbury Rams: Craven; Wainwright, Cosgrove, Turner, Buchanan; Tansey, Brambani; England, Blake, Hirst, Spicer, Lockwood, Tonks. Subs (all used): Menzies, Emblem, Brooks, Bolger.
Barrow Raiders: Luizi; Ballard, Wardle, Harrison, Larkin; Rooney, McNally; Walker, Mossop, Fletcher, Knowles, Ostler, Catic. Subs (all used): Thackray, James, Gleeson, Butler.
Referee: Craig Halloran.