Plenty to play for as Rams face Eagles

Rams boss Neil Kelly is looking for his side to bounce back from defeat to Batley when they visit Sheffield Eagles on Friday.
Rams boss Neil Kelly is looking for his side to bounce back from defeat to Batley when they visit Sheffield Eagles on Friday.

Dewsbury Rams coach Neil Kelly admits there is still plenty for his side to play for going into the last five Championship Shield fixtures.

The Rams will bid to bounce back from their 42-22 defeat away to Batley a fortnight ago when they return to action with a trip to Sheffield Eagles tomorrow (Friday).

Although the top two places were decided before the Shield fixtures commenced, teams are competing for prize money with an additional £25,000 up for grabs if the Rams can finish eighth rather than their current ninth place.

Victory over Sheffield would see the Rams leapfrog the Eagles into eighth place and put pressure back on Batley, who are seventh ahead of a tricky trip to Barrow on Sunday.

Dewsbury are five points clear of the bottom two but coach Neil Kelly is not concerned that they will be dragged back into the dog fight and wants the Rams to kick on in their final five games to secure additional prize money.

Speaking after his side’s defeat to Batley, Kelly said: “I think we are already safe. I know not mathematically and I don’t want to be accused of complacency but we are already safe realistically.

“I am more concerned about getting the points to secure our league position. We lost our eighth place in the league and the next few games are going to be instrumental in getting it back and trying to finish the season seventh.

“By virtue of the league and how things work out it’s worth an extra £25,000 if you finish eighth.

“We have got lots to play for and we have games where, if we do the right thing, are more than winnable.”

Dewsbury go into tomorrow’s game lying a point behind Sheffield and are level with 10th placed Barrow Raiders, who are the next visitors to Tetley’s Stadium on September 9.

Dewsbury’s remaining fixtures see them face Shield finlaists Featherstone Rovers away (September 16) and Leigh Centurions at home (September 30) between a trip to Rochdale Hornets, who are bottom of the Championship on points difference from Swinton Lions.

Dewsbury began the Shield programme with a 40-7 victory over Swinton before slipping to defeat at Batley.

The Rams trailed 10-0 early on but fought back with tries from Lucas Walshaw, Toby Richardson, James Glover and Dominic Speakman helped them into a 22-10 interval lead only for Batley to run in 30 unanswered points after the break.