Rams thwarted by second half blitz

Dewsbury v Toulouse -  Luke Blake
Dewsbury v Toulouse - Luke Blake
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Leigh Centurions 50

Dewsbury Rams 6

DEWSBURY Rams saw their chances of qualifying for the Co-operative Championship play-offs suffer a set back by a heavy defeat to Leigh Centurions last Friday.

Dewsbury went into the game with high hopes of registering a bonus point at least and were confident having pushed Leigh close in the corresponding game at Tetley’s Stadium earlier in the season.

However, they succumbed to the Centurions, who ran in nine tries, with stand-off Martyn Ridyard landing seven conversions.

The Rams were dealt a blow when influential centre Ayden Faal was ruled out with a back injury sustained in a car accident on Thursday evening but the visitors did well to contain Leigh in the first half and were very much in the game at the break as they only trailed 16-6.

However, Leigh clicked into gear and ran in six second half tries in a second half blitz which saw them reach a half-century.

Dewsbury started brightly and drew first blood when, following good approach play, full-back James Craven stormed 40-yards to score his 14th try of the season and Patch Walker converted.

The lead lasted just two minutes as Dewsbury were forced to drop-out from the kick-off and from the resulting attack, loose forward Sam Hopkins barged over and Ridyard goaled.

Steve Maden then latched onto a Ridyard pass to score an unconverted try in the corner.

Stuart Littler sent Craig Briscoe over at the side of the posts after 36 minutes and Ridyard’s conversion made it 16-6 at the break.

Dewsbury were still very much in the game going into the second half but Leigh capitalised on a knock-on by Steve Crossley and Ridyard sent Matt Gardiner crashing over. Ridyard converted.

The Rams have produced some plucky displays this season and they attempted to hit back.

Joe Chandler came off the bench to make his debut having signed on an initial month’s loan from high-flying Halifax and the former Shaw Cross amateur had an impressive game as he tried to get the Rams going forward.

Fellow substitute Elliot Cosgrove went close to scoring before replacement hooker Luke Blake was held up over the try line by Centurions second row Tommy Goulden.

Ryan Esders had the ball stolen in a tackle and from the resulting penalty, Crossley was also halted close.

Scrum-half Scott Spaven then produced a neat kick put Craven was just unable to get the final touch as Dewsbury piled on the pressure.

Leigh survived and then replied with the game’s decisive try as John Duffy and Ridyard linked to move play right and full-back Gregg McNally crossed in the corner. Ridyard landed a fine touchline goal and at 28-6, Dewsbury had a mountain to climb.

Ridyard capitalised on a piece of good fortune when he appeared to knock-on but was allowed to continue and stormed to the other end of the field.

He was tackled 10 metres short of the line but from the next play, centre Gardiner forced his way over for his second try

George Flanagan was sin-binned for persistent offending and while Dewsbury were down to 12 men, Goulden scored Leigh’s seventh try, which Ridyard improved.

Winger Greg Scott and loose forward Brad Singleton went close as Dewsbury battled in vain but it was Leigh who added two further tries in the closing stages.

Hopkins drove through the defence for his second try after 76 minute, which Ridyard converted.

In the final minute, a Walker kick was charged down and James Mendeika reacted first to gather and race 70 metres to the posts. Ridyard’s seventh conversion was a formality as Leigh brought up their half-century.

Defeat leaves Dewsbury seventh in the table and they have slipped seven points behind Keighley Cougars but they have now played all of the top five sides away from home.

With three of their final five matches now at home, Warren Jowitt’s men will hope they can go on a run which could push them into the top-six and a place in the play-offs.

Leigh Centurions: McNally, Maden, Mendeika, Gardner, McGilvray, Ridyard, Duffy, Thornley, Nicholson, Parker, Littler, Goulden, Hopkins. Subs: Brierley, Henderson, Briscoe, Gallagher.

Dewsbury Rams: Craven, Scott, Esders, Williams, Buchanan, Walker, Spaven, Jones, Hood, Crossley, Tonks, Spicer, Singleton. Subs: Blake, Cosgrove, Chandler, Flanagan.

Referee: Matt Thomason. Att: 1536