Dewsbury Rams recorded a third straight win and a fifth in seven outings under Neil Kelly’s reign as head coach as they produced one of their best performances of the season to defeat Rochdale 40-10 and move up to eighth place in the Kingstone Press Championship.
It proved a memorable day for stand off Paul Sykes as he landed six goals to pass 2,000 points on the 400th game of his career.
Dewsbury were beaten 46-0 at Rochdale on the opening day of the season but Kelly has instilled renewed confidence into the Rams side and there is now real optimism that they will survive the threat of relegation.
The Rams raced into a 28-0 lead in the first half and while they were restricted to just two further scores after the break, victory was enough to see them move above the Hornets.
After a cagey opening, Dewsbury struck first with a 14th minute try to spark a purple patch which saw them cross four times in 16 minutes.
A penalty took the Rams close and Rob Spicer showed great strength to force his way over and Sykes added the first of his six goals.
The Rams defence did well to hold Lewis Galbraith up over the try line before a brilliant 40-20 kick by Gareth Moore saw the Rams turn defence into attack and Toby Adamson managed to get over the line with Sykes converting.
Dewsbury moved play left and Dale Morton produced a superb side step to skip past the Hornets defence to score a cracking try, with Sykes tagging on his third goal.
Spicer again proved too much for the Rochdale defence and barged his way over for a second try after 30 minutes, which Sykes improved to take his career tally to 1,998 points.
Macauley Hallett added a fifth Rams try of an almost faultless first half when he gathered Moore’s pass after the Rams had again opened up Rochdale on the left side.
Sykes was wide with the conversion attempt, leaving him to wait to reach the milestone.
Rochdale looked for a response early in the second half and Miles Greenwood appeared to have been sent away only to be pulled back for a forward pass before the visitors did manage to get on the scoreboard through Rob Massam’s try wide on the left.
Dewsbury ensured there would be no Hornets fightback as Sykes produced a lovely kick between the posts for Moore to collect and score.
Sykes was left with a simple conversion attempt for his 2,000th point as the Rams extended their lead to 34-4.
Galbraith was sin-binned for dissent and Dewsbury capitalised with a seventh try as Hallett scooted through a gap in the defence to score on the left and Sykes converted.
Rochdale hit back with a second consolation try two minutes from full-time through centre Jordan Case which Danny Yates converted but it took nothing away from a terrific Rams performance.