Rams produce clinical display against 13-man Centurions

Paul Sykes scored a try and kicked eight goals as the Rams defeated depleted Leigh Centurions.
Paul Sykes scored a try and kicked eight goals as the Rams defeated depleted Leigh Centurions.

Dewsbury Rams produced a clinical display to overcome 13-man Leigh Centurions 52-6 and round off their Betfred Championship Shield campaign in style.

It proved the perfect send off to departing head coach Neil Kelly but the game was played out in bizarre fashion after Leigh turned up with a bare 13 man squad and named no substitutes on the team sheet.

Leigh will contest next week’s Shield Final against Featherstone but were forced to play 55 minutes with only 12 men after Will Dagger was forced off injured, while they finished with 11 when veteran Micky Higham left the field exhausted five minutes from full-time.

Dewsbury were clinical in attack and never let Leigh off the hook as they ran in nine tries.

The most pleasing aspect for the Rams was the way they started the game against a strong Leigh starting line-up before fatigue set in.

Robbie Ward looked to have given Dewsbury an early led when he drove over the line between the posts only to be spun onto his back.

They went ahead after 13 minutes when Ward produced a lovely grubber kick to the in-goal and Aaron Brown ran behind the Centurions defence to touch down, with Paul Sykes adding the first of his eight goals.

Brad Delaney made an excellent break to set up another Rams attack and when he was held down in the tackle, Dewsbury mounted pressure from the penalty. Brown drove for the line and managed to stretch over for a try which Sykes improved.

Dagger left the field clutching his arm and would play no further part and, as Dewsbury introduced fresh legs, they turned the screw.

Sykes sold an outrageous dummy and raced through the gap before drawing the last defender and sold another dummy to race behind the posts to give himself a simple goal.

Three minutes later, the Rams were back on attack and substitute hooker Dom Speakman produced an excellent long pass to send Josh Guzdek striding over and Sykes converted before adding a penalty with the last kick of the first half after a Leigh drop out failed to go 10 metres.

Dewsbury killed off any Leigh hopes with a three try blast in the opening six minutes of the second half.

A neat Sykes kick through was gathered by Guzdek, who spun in a tackle and planted the ball down at the side of the posts, with Sykes adding his sixth goal.

Leigh sent the kick off out on the full and from the resulting penalty, Dewsbury moved right for James Glover to score an unconverted try.

Leigh again kicked out on the full and Dewsbury made them pay when Adam Ryder crashed between the posts and Sykes converted as the Rams led 42-0.

The Centurions looked out on their feet and the Rams attacked on the back of another penalty, with Guzdek throwing a long pass out for winger Rob Worrincy to gather and acrobatically dive over in the right corner.

Worrincy looked to have grabbed his second try soon after when he gathered a neat chip over the top by Sykes and bounced off a defender on his way to crashing over at the side of the posts only for Drew Hitchinson to spin him on his back in a desperate last ditch tackle.

This lifted Leigh, who responded with their best spell of the match, which ended with Jamie Acton meeting a ball at pace to storm through the Rams defence and over for a deserved consolation try which Jack Owens converted.

The final 15 minutes became a little scrappy as fatigue set in among Leigh’s brave side.

Higham was forced to leave the field and Dan Igbinedion took advantage as he produced a powerful run to crash over for the final try of the season to bring up the half century and Sykes tagged on the conversion.

Kelly led his Rams side on a lap of honour at the end of the game and he thanked the players efforts during his reign as coach in the after match interviews.

Dewsbury Rams: Guzdek; Worrincy, Glover, Ryder, Morton; Sykes, Delaney; Trout, Ward, Teanby, Knowles, Walshaw, Brown. Subs: Speakman, Everett, Igbinedion, Richardson.

Leigh Centurions: Dagger; Ricky Bailey, Green, Larroyer, Whelan; Owens, Huthcinson; Ryan Bailey, Higham, Johnson, Walne, Blagbrough, Acton.

Referee: A Sweet.

Attendance: 999