Dewsbury Rams warmed up for this weekend’s Kingstone Press Championship Shield semi-final at Toulouse by defeating Oldham 29-22 in their final group game at Bower Fold last Sunday.
With the Rams having already secured a top four finish, coach Neil Kelly made several changes to his side but it took a late rally for them to record a 12th win of the season.
Dewsbury trailed 22-20 entering the final 10 minutes butscored nine points late on to secure a win as Oldham’s relegation to Championship One was confirmed.
Oldham went into the game consigned to the drop but they began brightly and took a fourth minute lead when Dave Hewitt and former Ram Luke Adamson created a gap for Richard Lepori to score wide out and Hewitt added a fine goal.
Dewsbury hit back soon after when impressive stand off Paul Sykes sent the returning Shaun Squires racing away and the stand-in full-back managed to score despite a late challenge from Danny Grimshaw.
Sykes landed his first of six goals to level matters.
Oldham regained the advantage when Joe Burke capitalised on a strong drive by Adam Neal to score and Hewitt converted.
Dewsbury took place close to the Oldham line and Sam Day nipped over for a try from actiing half-back and Sykes tagged on the goal.
Rams fans will have been pleased to see scrum half Gareth Moore returning from injury and he chipped over the defence only to be taken out when attempting to regather the ball and Sykes kicked the reulting penalty to edge the visitors 14-12 ahead at half-time.
Indiscipline was costing Oldham vital possession and back-to-back infringements early in the second half gave the Rams good field position which allowed Sykes to send Squires over for his second try and Sykes again converted to stretch the lead to eight points.
Oldham fought back as Scott Leatherbarrow, Hewitt, Ben Davies and Sammy Gee linked to send Danny Grimshaw over for an unconverted try.
The home side then edged in front in the 58th minutre when Leatherbarrow kicked to the in-goals area and Liam Thompson won the race to touch down, with Hewitt converting.
Dewsbury finished strongly to ensure they left Oldham with victory for the second time this season.
Luke Adamson was penalised for stealing the ball and Sykes stepped up to land his fifth goal and level matters at 22-22.
The Rams attacked again and Michael Knowles launched an up and under which Lepori dropped and from the resulting attack, Knwoles edged the Rams in front with a drop goal.
Three minyutes from full-time Dewsbury scored the decisive try as Sykes kicked through and winger Thomas Halliday collected to sprint over behind the posts for the match clinching try.
Sykes converted as the Rams boosted considence ahead of Saturday’s semi-final.