Dewsbury Rams left it late to overcome Swinton Lions in a dramatic Kingstone Press Championship opening game at Salford last Sunday.
Swinton battled bravely throughout and gave the Rams a huge scare before Dewsbury edged a 26-24 victory, with Josh Guzdek scoring a hat-trick on his competitive debut.
Newly-promoted Swinton started well and stormed into a fifth-minute lead when Greg Wilde raced over at the side of the posts but Chris Atkin’s conversion hit a post.
Dewsbury responded well and after Jason Crookes took them close, Shane Grady sent Guzdek over for his first try and Ben Reynolds added the simple goal to edge the Rams ahead.
Reynolds produced a neat grubber kick to set up Guzdek’s second try and the half-back added the conversion from a tight angle to seemingly put Dewsbury on their way.
A lengthy hold-up followed to allow Swinton’s Connor Dwyer to receive treatment to a facial injury before he was stretchered from the field.
Swinton struck before half-time when Dewsbury failed to deal with a dangerous kick and Wilde benefited to nip over for his second try.
Atkin was unable to convert and the Rams held a slender 12-8 interval lead.
Swinton began the second half well and Rob Lever crossed for their third try, despite claims of a forward pass in the build up. Atkin converted to edge the Lions ahead.
Reynolds broke the defence and went over for an unconverted try but the nip and tuck game continued as Swinton posed problems.
Swinton twice opted to kick for goal after the Rams were penalised, with Atkin obliging on both occasions as the Lions went 18-16 ahead.
Paul Sykes withdrew from Dewsbury’s final warm-up game against London the previous week but he was on hand to grab a crucial 63rd minute try as the former Featherstone man produced a piece of individual skill to race through the defence and over for a try which Reynolds improved.
Again Swinton responded as Matty Beharrell sent Lever racing over for his second try and Atkin converted to regain his side’s slender advantage.
Dewsbury looked to have blown the chance of victory when they were pulled back for a forward pass only to be handed another opportunity when Swinton knocked on.
Guzdek took advantage to race over for his hat-trick try six minutes from time and ensure Dewsbury left with winning points.