Championship: Bulldogs and Rams approach Heavy Woollen derby with caution

Dewsbury Rams coach Neil Kelly.
Dewsbury Rams coach Neil Kelly.
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THEY HAVE upset the odds in three previous meetings this year, but Dewsbury Rams boss Neil Kelly insists his team are the outsiders to win tomorrow’s Heavy Woollen derby at Batley Bulldogs (3pm).

Batley are sixth in the table, but rapidly-improving Dewsbury have narrowed the gap to just two places and six points.

Batley Bulldogs coach Matt Diskin.

Batley Bulldogs coach Matt Diskin.

Rams have beaten their neighbours twice at Tetley’s Stadium this term – in the Kingstone Press Championship and Ladbrokes Challenge Cup – and were victors at the Summer Bash in Blackpool.

That will send them into tomorrow’s game in confident mood, but Kelly warned their dominant record may work against them this weekend.

“It will serve to strengthen Batley’s resolve to get the win,” predicted the Rams boss.

“I think we are at a slight disadvantage because they will be more motivated to beat us at their place.”

Five wins from their last seven games have lifted Rams out of the relegation zone, but Kelly warned: “If we slip up and other teams win it puts us right back in there.

“We have got confidence, but Batley are above us in the table.

“They’ve had more wins than us and they’ve been in some good form, apart from last week’s result.

“We know previous results this year will have no bearing on this game.

“One thing I do have experience of is local derbies and that experience tells me you can’t take anything for granted – anything can happen on the day.”

Batley’s three-match winning run was halted by a 42-14 loss at Featherstone Rovers last Sunday, but coach Matt Diskin also reckons tomorrow will be a totally different ball game.

He said: “They have played a particular way against us which has been very effective and they’ve got some results off the back of it.

“They will be full of confidence, they have had some decent results and they are the form team in the lower part of the comp’ at the moment.

“But we are making progress. For 50-60 minutes last week I thought we were the better team.

“We allowed their back-three to get a roll on and they scored some cheap tries, but we did some good things and we will be looking to improve again.”

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