FIERCE RIVALS Dewsbury Rams and Batley Bulldogs are gearing up for a crucial weekend in the Kingstone Press Championship.
Rams travel to Whitehaven today (6.30pm) in a key game at the foot of the table and Bulldogs’ top-four hopes will be on the line tomorrow when they play host to Halifax (3pm).
Injury-hit Dewsbury have dropped to ninth and are level on points with second-bottom Whitehaven.
Coach Glenn Morrison said: “It is a massive game, probably the most important this year so far.
“If we win it takes us away from the bottom and puts us up closer to the top six.
“But if we lose, we are down in the struggle.
“It is the same for them and both teams know how important this one is.”
Rams put up a brave fight with an under-strength team in a 54-4 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup defeat by Wigan Warriors six days ago.
“Our second half last week wasn’t too bad, we showed some good signs,” Morrison said.
“We made a lot of line-breaks against a quality side and defended for long periods really well.
“It is always tough going up to Cumbria, but we have been training really well during the week and we know if we are on top of our game we are going to be really competitive.”
Batley hold sixth place, one point and a place behind tomorrow’s visitors Halifax.
Bulldogs need to reverse a run of poor Championship results and boss John Kear said: “We’ve lost four, but in between we’ve played Featherstone and Catalans in the Challenge Cup and played really well.
“The last league game we played, at Leigh, was a creditable performance.
“We’re not in a bad run of form, but it is a bad run of results.
“If we keep performing well, that is going to turn around.”
With Featherstone – who are fourth – facing second-placed London Broncos tomorrow, Kear feels a place in the Qualifiers is a realistic aim.
“We’re two points behind fourth, so we are in the mix,” he said.
“I know Bradford have got a game in hand, so Featherstone, Batley and Halifax are battling it out for fourth spot.
“Featherstone have to play Halifax twice and it is going to be an intriguing second half to the season.”