Dewsbury Rams produced a stirring second-half fightback to regain the Heavy Woollen bragging rights with a 28-22 win over Batley Bulldogs at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium yesterday, writes Oliver Roby.
The home crowd were treated to a rip-roaring start by their side. Led by the towering Keegan Hirst, Batley took a deserved lead on seven minutes as Shaun Ainscough skipped in from close range.
Despite playing up Mount Pleasant’s infamous slope, the Bulldogs continued to pile the pressure on Dewsbury’s line. But the visitors’ determination in defence limited John Kear’s men to just one further try in the first half, Luke Blake stealing in from acting half when the Rams were reduced to 12 men following the sin-binning of Joel Farrell.
That margin was halved only minutes later as Shane Grady crashed in following a short ball from Anthony Thackeray. And it was level soon after the interval as Etu Uaisele went in, pouncing on an error from Wayne Reittie after a huge kick by Matty Wildie.
After a stoppage as Johnny Campbell recieved treatment for a suspected broken leg, Batley were in the mood once again. And they hit back through Alex Brown who latched onto a kick to score, but Dalton Grant brought the Rams level at 16-16 on the hour following a long ball by Wildie.
Under pressure, winger Morton nailed the touchline conversion to wrestle back a two-point lead. But it was Thackeray who would prove to be the gamebreaker who went in from 30 yards. Morton again tagged on the extras to leave the Rams eight points in front heading into the final quarter.
Sam Scott led the home side’s response, holding off a number of defenders to go in, but the wind was taken firmly out of Batley’s sails as Ainscough dropped the resulting kick off, and Farrell twisted in two plays later to seal the points.
Batley: Campbell; Reittie, Ainscough, Cosgrove, A Brown; Nicholson, Leatherbarrow; Hirst, Blake, Hesketh; Gledhill, Scott, J Brown. Subs: Leak, Rowe, Lillycrop, Bretherton.
Dewsbury: Fieldhouse; Morton, Uaisele, Grady, Grant; Wildie, Thackeray; Jackson, Conroy, Hepworth; Spicer, Hale, Adamson. Subs: Brown, Farrell, Nash, Smith.
Referee: Chris Kendall.