Rams record third straight derby victory over Bulldogs

Dan Igbinedion attempts to find a way through Bulldogs defenders Alistair Leak and Sam Smeaton.
Dan Igbinedion attempts to find a way through Bulldogs defenders Alistair Leak and Sam Smeaton.

Dewsbury Rams earned a third successive victory over neighbours Batley Bulldogs to boost their hopes of climbing out of the Kingstone Press Championship relegation zone.

The Rams fought back from 12-4 down into the second half to earn a 13-12 victory in the final game of last weekend’s Summer Bash in Blackpool.

Batley outscored the Rams three tries to one but failed to land any goals, while James Glover had a 100 per cent kicking record as he landed four goals to keep Dewsbury in contention.

After seeing the Rams fight back to level, Paul Sykes landed a 59th minute drop goal to edge Dewsbury ahead and Batley then went on to miss a penalty goal attempt which could have snatched victory, while the Bulldogs were also off target with two drop goal attempts which could have snatched a draw.

Although there was late tension in the game with crucial league points at stake, in truth it was an error strewn encounter which failed to spark into life.

Dewsbury handed a debut to home-grown full-back Luke Hooley, who was on dual registration from Wakefield Trinity.

The 18-year-old is a former Dewsbury Moor junior and Manor Croft student and he had a solid first outing for his home town club.

Dewsbury drew first blood as Glover slotted over a second minute penalty.

Bulldogs captain Dominic Brambani produced a dangerous kick to the in-goal area but the ball bounced dead before winger Wayne Reittie could pounce.

Both sides were guilty of losing possession early in the tackle count as the game lacked the usual spark of a usual Heavy Woollen derby.

Brambani was sin-binned for lifting Glover off the ground in a tackle but Dewsbury were unable to capitalise on the numerical advantage.

Immediately after his return, Brambani led a Batley attack as play was moved right before the scrum-half switched play left and created a gap for Dave Scott to send Danny Cowling storming over wide out.

Cain Southernwood’s conversion attempt drifted wide and when Joel Farrell clattered into Billy Hayes after the ball had gone, it gifted Glover the chance to level matters with the resulting penalty goal.

Batley responded with a spell of pressure as James Davey was held short following a quick dart from acting half-back before the Bulldogs opted to move play to the short side and Sam Smeaton’s neat pass sent Reittie diving over wide out, although Southernwood was again off target with the conversion.

Batley led 8-4 at half-time and stretched their lead three minutes after the re-start as they drove the ball downfield.

Alex Rowe’s storming run took Batley close and he fed Brad Day, who was tackled just short.

From the next play, James Harrison surged through a gap and over for a third Bulldogs try but again Southernwood couldn’t add the extras.

That was to prove crucial as Dewsbury mounted a fightback.

Aaron Brown broke from deep inside his own half and stormed away on a weaving run and he bounced off a defender to plunge over for a try on his 100th appearance.

Glover added the conversion and levelled matters with a third penalty goal soon after.

Sykes was only included in the squad on the morning of the match and he came off the bench to play an influential role.

Sykes landed a 59th minute drop goal to edge the Rams ahead and he proved a calming influence on the younger players to close out the Rams win.

Brambani took over the kicking duties but was wide with a 73rd minute long range penalty attempt.

Brambani scuffed a drop goal attempt wide and Southernwood was also off target with a 78th minute effort as Rams supporters celebrated a third straight win over their closest rivals.