Dewsbury Rams produced a gutsy performance before slipping to a 23-12 defeat to big spending Betfred Championship leaders Toronto Wolfpack.
The Rams conceded three tries in a five minute period inside the opening quarter before going on to produce a magnificent defensive effort as time and again they repelled Toronto’s advances and keep themselves in the game.
Toronto began brightly and went close twice early on before taking a 12th minute lead.
Chase Stanley lost the ball close to the try line when attempting to slip a pass out to his winger, while Andrew Ackers was tackled short by a determined Rams defence.
Toronto eventually struck on the back of a penalty when Ryan Brierley fed Reni Maitua and he had two much strength to barge his way to the try line. Brierley sliced his conversion attempt wide.
Toronto grabbed a second try when Stanley broke through and slipped a pass to send winger Adam Higson storming over wide out, with Brierley again off target with his conversion attempt.
A mix up in the Dewsbury defence allowed Toronto to pick up the loose ball and Stanley was on hand to collect a pass close to the line to score a simple try.
Brierley’s off day with the boot continued as he was again off target with the conversion and the Rams responded with a spell of pressure of their own.
Having forced repeat sets close to the line Dominic Speakman stabbed the ball through and followed up to pounce for the try, which Paul Sykes converted.
Brierley was finally on target with a penalty attempt from in front of the posts as the Wolfpack led 14-6 at half-time.
Dewsbury’s defence was superb in the second half as Gareth Potts was alert to hack O’Brien’s dangerous kick dead.
Toronto did manage to score a fourth try when Brierley released O’Brien and his long looping pass was gathered by Higson to dive over in the right corner, with Brierley’s conversion attempt again going wide.
O’Brien was twice held short of the line, while Dewsbury’s superb defence also managed to spin Olsi Krasniqi onto his back when he looked to have driven over.
Rob Beswick was also held up over the line soon after, while Dewsbury then had a chance to hit back at the other end.
Martyn Reilly drove towards the line but was held up by the posts before Gareth Moore chipped through and hacked the ball on only for it to roll dead despite a despairing dive in an attempt to score.
Brierley eased the pressure with a 31st minute drop goal stretching the lead to 19-6.
Further Toronto pressure was again repelled when Maitua was held short before hobbling off injured and when the Wolfpack moved play inside, Jack Bussey drove over but was held up in the in goal area by four Rams defenders.
Dewsbury mounted a counter attack but when a long pass went to ground, Brierley scooped up the loose ball and outpaced the Rams defence on an 80 metre run to the line as he dived over at the corner but was again wide with the conversion attempt.
Dewsbury were rewarded for their efforts with a last minute consolation as impressive half-back Paul Sykes kicked through and was impeded as he attempted to touch down and referee Robert Hicks awarded the rarity of a penalty try.
O’Brien was sin-binned before Sykes landed the conversion with the last kick of the game.
Dewsbury Rams: Guzdek; Potts, Glover, Hallett, Worrincy; Sykes, Moore; Everett, Speakman, Reilly, Crowther, Walshaw, Brown. Subs: Day, Trout, Teanby, Ward.
Toronto Wolfpack: O’Brien; Higson, Stanley, Worthington, Kay; McCrone, Brierley; Sidlow, Ackers, Sims, Maitua, Bussey, Buchanan. Subs: Krasniqi, Beswick, Whiting, Hopkins.
Referee: Robert Hicks.