Rams seal impressive win as Sykes celebrates testimonial

Dewsbury's Paul Sykes was given a guard of honour before his testimonial game against Bradford Bulls.
Dewsbury's Paul Sykes was given a guard of honour before his testimonial game against Bradford Bulls.

Dewsbury Rams ran in five tries and produced an outstanding defensive display as they nilled Bradford Bulls to register their first win of pre-season.

Both sets of players deserve huge credit for the way they played the game on a bitterly cold afternoon, while over 1,000 spectators turned out in atrocious weather to honour Dewsbury-born half-back Paul Sykes on his testimonial.

Sykes has made over 400 appearances and amassed in excess of 2,000 points during a wonderful career and he was given a deserved guard of honour by both teams before kick off.

A snow covered pitch and driving sleet meant it was never going to be a classic but both teams tried to play expansive rugby and Dewsbury, in particular, produced some fine moves to score some good tries.

Dewsbury fielded 18 players in their final warm-up match before the new Championship season as coach Neil Kelly was determined to give players plenty of game time and he was happy with the side’s overall performance.

There were plenty of handling errors in the opening stages but Dewsbury finally hit the front with a 14th minute try.

A neat passing move sent Rob Worrincy racing down the right wing and although he was tackled short, James Glover darted over from the next play to score wide out, with Sykes unable to land the goal.

Bradford looked to have hit back as Brandon Pickersgill kicked to the in-goal area and Ethan Ryan pounced on the ball only to be pulled back for offside.

Rams full-back Josh Guzdek gathered a dangerous high kick in-goal and his quick thinking saw him run the ball out and take a quick ‘25 tap to race to halfway.

Bradford were on the back foot and Lucas Walshaw gathered Sykes’s pass and charged forward before showing his strength driving over the line and planted the ball down wide on the right.

Sykes and half-back partner Gareth Moore were dictating play and they linked well to send Glover through a gap and he cut inside a defender and dived under another Bulls player on the line for another well-worked try.

Sykes added a conversion at the third attempt and Dewsbury went into the break with a 14-0 lead.

Glover raced through at the start of the second half and looked to be on the verge of completing his hat-trick until he was hauled down.

Dominic Speakman moved for a spell at scrum-half and grabbed the Rams fourth try in the 49th minute.

Speakman took the ball from the base of a scrum and sold a dummy to the Bulls defence before carrying a defender over the line to stretch over for another unconverted try.

Centre Macauley Hallett charged down a Bulls kick and regathered to race clear. He fed Moore but with the line beckoning the ball went to ground and Bradford survived.

Dewsbury continued to look impressive with the ball in hand and another neat move left saw Hallett feed winger Dale Morton, who dived acrobatically to score a cracking try at the corner.

Sykes delighted the crowd when he curled over a terrific touchline conversion as the Rams secured victory in their third pre-season fixture.

Attentions now turn to the opening game of the Championship season when Dewsbury entertain Sheffield Eagles on Friday February 2.