Dewsbury Rams produced a gutsy display against Bradford Bulls before slipping to a 36-26 defeat at Tetley’s Stadium on Monday.
Victory was enough to see the Bulls clinch top spot in the Kingstone Press Championship Shield, while Dewsbury remain fourth with three matches remaining as they chase a semi-final spot.
Dewsbury were without the likes of Joel Farrell, Matt Groat and Paul Sykes, while Lucas Walshaw and EtuUasiele were unable to play against their parent club but the Rams produced a fine effort to run Bradford close in an entertaining game.
Dewsbury took a sixth- minute lead when Shane Grady palmed a crossfield kick onto winger Dale Morton, who scored in the corner.
The Bulls hit back when Kurt Haggerty and Danny Addy linked to send Jay Pitts charging to the line.
James Glover levelled matters with a penalty but Bradford grabbed a second try through Danny Williams, after Dane Chisholm had set up the attack with a 40-20 kick.
Rams replied as Andy Kain sent Aaron Brown storming to the line and Glover’s conversion edged Dewsbury 12-10 ahead.
Chisholm’s fine pass sent Ethan Ryan over for a 32nd minute try and further Bulls pressure resulted in Joe Keyes and Alex Mellor linking well in a swift attack, which resulted in Williams diving over for his second try.
Glover kicked a penalty on the stroke of half-time, reducing the arrears to 18-14 and he was on hand to kick another penalty soon after the break.
The impressive Chisholm ducked out of a tackle and managed to get the ball away for Kris Welham to score.
Danny Addy took over the kicking duties from Keyes and converted to reach the 400 points milestone in Bulls colours.
Dewsbury looked to respond but a kick to the in-goal area was gathered and Bradford swiftly turned defence into attack as Chisholm raced 70 metres, cutting inside to score between the posts.
Keyes converted as the Bulls led 30-16.
Dewsbury hit back in style as they threatened an unlikely comeback in the latter stages.
The Rams moved upfield after Bradford were penalised and Dominic Speakman forced his way over for an unconverted try .
Dewsbury kicked a 40-20 to set up another attack and Morton grabbed his second try, which Grady converted.
Dewsbury had twice beaten Bradford in dramatic fashion earlier in the season but the Bulls ensured it wasn’t a hat-trick when Mitch Clark crashed over in the final minute and Addy converted.