Dewsbury Rams recorded a fifth win from their last six outings to further ease their relegation worries when they overcame Sheffield Eagles 28-18 at Tetley’s Stadium last Sunday.
Victory sees the Rams finish the regular season in eighth place and they begin the Championship Shield with a five point advantage over Oldham.
It also guarantees Neil Kelly’s men four home games in the Shield.
Kelly handed new signing Michael Knowles his debut after the former Sheffield man signed for the Rams until the end of 2018 from Featherstove Rovers, while there was a place on the bench for French international Mickael Goudemand.
Dewsbury made the best possible start, taking a third minute lead when Paul Sykes produced a neat pass to send full-back Josh Guzdek over for the opening try, which Sykes converted.
Sheffield almost hit back when Simon Brown’s kick out wide was misjudged by Rams winger Alex Brown but Garry Lo knocked on as he attempted to gather and score.
The Eagles did reply after 15 minutes when Lo made amends, showing great strength to force his way over out wide but Brown was unable to convert.
Sykes was sin-binned for Dewsbury when he spoke out of turn after kicking the ball through on what he thought was a free play.
James Glover tagged on a penalty after Sheffield were caught offside but with the Rams still down to 12 men, Sheffield hit back.
Lo leapt above Alex Brown to gather a kick and score his second try out wide but again Simon Brown was unable to add the goal and it remained 8-8.
Glover edged the Rams back in front with another penalty but Sheffield struck with a third try on the stroke of half-time.
Mark Mexico drove Sheffield close, which allowed powerful centgre Menzie Yere to storm over. Jack Owens took over the kicking duties but his conversion attempt fell short and the Eagles had to settle for a 12-10 interval lead.
Dewsbury responded with a superb second half display to ensure they took the spoils.
Glover was held up over the line in an early Rams attack and when Dewsbury moved play wide, Lucas Walshaw forced his way over in the corner and Sykes kicked a superb touchline goal.
The Rams were dominating and having taken play close, Dominic Speakman sold a lovely dummy and skipped between the posts, with the Sykes conversion a formality.
Jode Sheriffe was sin-binned for a high tackle but it was while the Rams were down to 12 men for a second time that they wrapped up victory with a fourth try as Glover scooted over and Sykes converted.
Sheffield replied with a late consolation try from stand-off Remy Marginet and Owens converted but it was the Rams who celebrated taking another crucial two points.