Dewsbury Rams are on the brink of booking their place in the Kingstone Press Championship Shield semi-finals following last Sunday’s 35-28 victory over Sheffield Eagles at Wakefield’s Beaumont Legal Stadium.
Victory leaves the Rams fourth in the Shield standings and know victory over Swinton on Bank Holiday Monday will be enough to book their semi-final spot.
It was been a remarkable turnaround since Neil Kelly took charge as head coach and Dewsbury’s fifth straight win was enough to end any lingering relegation fears.
It took just four minutes for the Rams to go ahead against third placed Sheffield as Macauley Hallett brushed away two defenders and stormed to the line, with Paul Sykes converting.
Gareth Moore has been influential in Dewsbury’s revival but missed the trip to Wakefield through injury, although Dominic Speakman stepped up to the mark with a terrific game.
Sheffield responded with a spell of pressure but excellent goalline defence denied the Eagles.
The home side did manage to hit back with a Matty Fozard unconverted try after they forced a repeat set close to the line.
The Rams took control with a two-try blast in the space of four minutes.
Centre James Glover raced 40 metres for a fine individual try before Speakman added a third Rams try.
The ball went to ground and Speakman hacked it on, with it ricochetting off an Eagles defender for Speakman to gather and score. Sykes added both goals and Dewsbury led 18-6.
Sheffield struck back on the stroke of half-time when Mark Mexico’s offload sent Elliot Minchella over between the posts and Simon Brown converted.
Dewsbury extended their lead four minutes after the re-start when winger Gareth Potts was on the end of a sweeping passing move to dive in at the corner, although it was too far wide out for Sykes to convert.
Eagles winger Garry Lo responded when he raced away from halfway to pull a try back and Brown converted to reduce the deficit to six points.
Lo went close to scoring again soon after but was judged to have knocked on when attempted to ground a grubber kick.
Sheffield were looking to take control but the Rams struck with a crucial try on the hour as they moved swiftly to the other end of the field and Aaron Brown crashed over, with Sykes converting.
The end to end second half continued as Matt James bounced off two defenders and stretched over, with Brown tagging on the goal to give the Eagles hope.
Sykes slotted over a drop goal nine minutes from time to give the Rams a seven point advantage.
Glover broke from the resulting kick off to set up another Rams attack and they effectively sealed a superb away win when Sam Day crashed over and Sykes converted.
George Milton crossed for a try on his Sheffield debut with moments remaining and Brown tagged on his fourth goal but it took nothing away from an excellent Rams performance as they moved to within just three points of the Eagles.