Dewsbury Rams 40
Barrow Raiders 34
By Andrew Hunt
DEWSBURY Rams survived a dramatic late fightback last Sunday to hold on for a vital victory which saw them move off the foot of the Co-operative Championship.
The Rams had dominated most of the game and were in complete control as they led 40-10 approaching the final 10 minutes. There appeared to be no concern when Anthony Blackwood sent Michael Knowles over for a 69th minute try which Jamie Rooney converted but it sparked a late comeback which almost denied the Rams.
Barrow launched another attack and when Dewsbury failed to gather Rooney’s kick towards the line, the Raiders stand-off pounced to touch down and added the goal.
From the re-start, Richard Chapman produced a fierce tackle on a Barrow forward, forcing him to drop the ball.
However referee Ronnie Laughton judged there were two men in the tackle and penalised the Rams and then sin-binned Chapman for dissent.
Rooney hammered the penalty towards Dewsbury’s line and loose forward Zeb Luisi stepped over for a third try in just four minutes. Rooney’s goal set the nerves jangling.
Barrow came again and when James Craven failed to gather Rooney’s high kick, the Raiders spun the ball right and winger Chris Larkin looked a certain scorer but Pat Walker produced a magnificent tackle to take him into touch just short of the try line.
Barrow scored another try, as prop Matt James stretched over right on the hooter and Rooney added the goal, but Dewsbury clung on for a crucial victory.
There was no sign of the late drama for the majority of the game as Dewsbury produced their best display of the season to tear the Raiders apart.
They led after six minutes when Dominic Brambani’s up and under wasn’t gathered. After Austin Buchanan was held, the Rams moved the ball right and Steve Crossley sent Michael Wainwright over in the corner and Walker added a superb goal.
Rob Spicer returned from a long injury lay-off and produced a terrific all-round display to inspire the Rams.
He made a crunching tackle on Larkin, forcing the winger to knock on and from the scrum, Dewsbury moved play right and Wainwright dived in at the corner. Walker was unable to convert but he did land a penalty after Rooney was sin-binned for holding down.
Wainwright made another brilliant run and although he was held short, Dewsbury drove towards the line and Luke Blake nipped over from acting half-back. Walker landing the goal to make it 18-0.
Dewsbury were dominating and Walker’s up and under caused panic among Barrow’s ranks and Matt Nicholson capitalised to score seconds after coming on for his home debut. James responded with a try for Barrow, which Rooney goaled, but Dewsbury fully deserved their 22-6 half-time lead.
Larkin squeezed in at the corner a minute into the second half but normal service was resumed as Dewsbury responded with two tries in the space of four minutes.
Brambani produced a lovely step to break through before sending James Lockwood storming over for a try which Walker improved. Spicer then latched onto Brambani’s short pass to score and Walker’s conversion made it 34-10.
Things improved further when Ayden Faal collected Rooney’s kick through to storm away to the line and Walker added his sixth goal.
Dewsbury seemed likely to score further tries in a bid to improve their points difference, which could still prove crucial in the relegation battle, but it was Barrow who fought back late on to leave the Rams clinging on for victory.
Dewsbury Rams: Craven; Wainwright, Spicer, Faal, Buchanan; Barlow, Brambani; Crossley, Blake, England, Lockwood, Fletcher, P Walker. Subs (all used): Menzies, Chapman, Nicholson, Smith.
Barrow Raiders: Broadbent; Backhouse, Blackwood, Harrison, Larkin; Rooney, Finch; Thackray, Mossop, James, Knowles, J Walker, Luisi. Subs (used): Gleeson, Ballard, Buter. (not used): Dixon.
Referee: Ronnie Laughton (Barnsley).