Dewsbury Rams hold on for play-off victory

Dewsbury Rams try scorer Austin Buchanan.
Dewsbury Rams try scorer Austin Buchanan.

Dewsbury Rams extended their season by at least another week after holding off a spirited Doncaster fight back to triumph 30-28 in the Championship play-offs at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Glen Morrison’s men made a flying start in being 12 points up in the first 10 minutes and, aided by a huge penalty count in their favour, went on to complete their third victory of the year over the Dons to earn a trip to Sheffield in the next round.

But after leading 30-12 at half-time they were given a huge scare when the home team hit back to make a real game of it in the second period.

Brad Watkinson gave the Rams their flying start when collecting Kieran Hyde’s low kick to score the first try.

Hyde added the conversion and was soon on target again after another of his kicks had been picked up by Stephen Nash close to the home line.

Doncaster hit back when Paul Cooke sent Craig Robinson charging over and Dave Scott converted, but a penalty kicked by Hyde made it 14-6 after 16 minutes.

Scott Hale raced in for another try six minutes later and Hyde’s goal gave the visitors a 14-point advantage.

Back came the hosts through Lee Waterman with Scott kicking a touchline conversion. But it was Dewsbury who finished the half the stronger with tries for Austin Buchanan and Ben Jones either side of Cooke being sin-binned because of the Dons’ persistent offending in the eyes of referee George Stokes.

The second half was a different story as the Rams failed to add to their score and were left hanging on at the end after conceding 16 unanswered points.

In the end it was the thickness of the post that saw them through with one of Scott’s conversions attempts bouncing wide off the upright.

Mark Castle, Waterman and Grant Edwards all crossed for the hosts and there were only two points in it with 12 minutes to play.

Dewsbury had a great chance to seal it only for Dale Morton’s pass to go forward with the home defence scattered, but in the last minute it needed great defence by Morton to keep out Dennis Tuffour as he chased Stu Sanderson’s dangerous kick down the line.

A pass from Sanderson to Tuffour went in touch 10 metres out from Doncaster’s next attack and it was all over with the Rams players able to begin their celebrations.

Scorers - Doncaster: Tries Robinson, Waterman 2, Castle, Edwards; goals Scott 4. Dewsbury: Tries Watkinson, Nash, Hale, Buchanan, Jones; goals Hyde 5.

Doncaster: Butterfield; Tuffour, Leaf, Waterman, Scott; Cooke, Fawcett; Castle, Emmett, Carbutt, Kelly, Robinson, Edwards. Subs: Kesik, Waller, Spiers, Sanderson.

Dewsbury: Morton; Buchanan, Pryce, Beckett, Scott; Brown, Hyde; Nash, Bentley, Hepworth, Hale, Watkinson, Molloy. Subs: Schofield, Gallagher, Aizue, Jones.

Referee: George Stokes.

Half-time: 12-30.

Attendance: 675.