Dewsbury Rams secured a crucial 40-26 victory over relegation rivals Barrow Raiders to boost their survival hopes in the Betfred Championship last Sunday.
It proved a nip and tuck contest between two sides battling against the drop and the scores were level at 20-20 after an hour only for Dewsbury to pull clear in the final quarter.
Victory leaves the Rams two points clear of second-bottom Barrow, while they also have a game in hand away to basement boys Rochdale Hornets to come.
The Rams were given a boost in the build up to the crucial clash when Dominic Speakman returned to the club on Friday, following a spell at Widnes, and he marked his second debut with a try.
Winger Conor McGrath also joined on loan from Halifax and he crossed for a brace, while at the other end of the spectrum, veteran half-back Paul Sykes made the 450th appearance of his career and produced a superb performance to lead the Rams to victory.
Things did not start well for the Rams as Barrow led inside five minutes when Wartovo Puara collected Alec Susino’s offload to score and Jamie Dallimore converted before Deon Cross strolled over wide out to put the Cumbrian’s 10-0 up.
Dewsbury responded with a terrific try as Sykes produced a superb kick left, which McGrath gathered before spectacularly diving over at the corner.
Having taken play close to the line from the Rams next attack, Speakman forced his way over for a debut try and Sykes converted to level matters.
Dallimore edged the visitors back in front with a penalty goal and Barrow held the slender lead at half-time.
The Raiders extended their lead with a magnificent individual try two minutes after the re-start as Tee Ritson broke two tackles before racing 80 metres to the line, with Dallimore converting before slotting over a 48th minute penalty to extend their lead to 20-10.
Dewsbury responded to the set backs and hit back when Owen Trout collected Speakman’s pass and produced a powerful run to the line.
Four minutes later Sykes and half-back partner Liam Finn linked brilliantly to send Adam Ryder racing through for a try and Sykes converted to level matters again.
Sykes edged Dewsbury ahead with a penalty before the Rams clicked into gear to ensure they secured a much-needed win.
Sykes capped his landmark game when he produced a powerful run to score between the posts and Finn took over the kicking duties to convert.
Finn linked with Sykes, who in turn sent Michael Knowles over at the left corner and Finn added a superb touchline goal.
Barrow responded with Ritson’s second try of the game, which Dallimore improved, but it was the Rams who rounded off victory with a sixth try four minutes from time.
Another neat passing move ended with McGrath scoring wide on the left and Finn kicked another touchline goal.