Heavy Woollen Derby preview: Dale Ferguson ‘licked his lips’ at derby games as Dewsbury Rams look to change fortunes against rivals Batley Bulldogs

Dewsbury Rams’ head coach Dale Ferguson has revealed he “licked his lips” as a player at the prospect of derby games as his side looks for a rare league triumph over their Heavy Woollen rivals Batley Bulldogs at FLAIR Stadium on Good Friday (kick off 5pm).
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In a tasty round two Championship clash, the neighbours meet following narrow defeats on the opening weekend, with the Rams losing out to Halifax Panthers and the Bulldogs suffering a heartbreaking late loss at home to Featherstone Rovers.

And, despite defeat in round one, Ferguson believes his side can hopefully claim the local “bragging rights” come 7pm having only recorded one league victory against Batley in their previous eight meetings.

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You also have to go back to 2018 for Dewsbury’s last home win over their arch-rivals.

Dewsbury Rams' head coach Dale Ferguson. Photo by Thomas Fynn.Dewsbury Rams' head coach Dale Ferguson. Photo by Thomas Fynn.
Dewsbury Rams' head coach Dale Ferguson. Photo by Thomas Fynn.

Ferguson said: “It is definitely a big game and one we are all looking forward to, a nice local derby. Batley have hit some form and, although they have bowed out of the cups, it will be a good test for us at home.

“It definitely means a lot to people, especially with it being so local. A lot of fans probably have family members or friends who support the other. It’s going to be massive for bragging rights.

“We have put our best foot forward from last week against Halifax. I know we lost, and we are not here to lose, but we were really happy as we have come miles ahead from where we have been.

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“We have said to keep building on that week in, week out. If we can build on the Halifax game, I think we are in for a treat on Friday night and we definitely won’t be far off.”

As a player with Wakefield, Huddersfield, Bradford and Dewsbury, Ferguson admitted these were the games that motivated him.

He revealed: “Whoever can’t get themselves up for a local derby and gain the bragging rights for their own fans is in the wrong sport. I know that me, as a player, licked my lips at these sorts of games.

“I remember playing Batley once where we were written off because the season was done but we had a really spirited fight against them.”

Ferguson also confirmed that everyone who played in the Halifax defeat should be available again while Brad Graham is only “a month or two away” from his return to action.