DEWSBURY RAMS won their third competitive Heavy Woollen Derby in a row with a rousing 21-6 win over Batley Bulldogs in difficult Good Friday conditions.
Shane Grady kicked off the scoring three minutes in before Joel Farrell’s converted try helped the Rams to a 10-0 lead after 23 minutes.
Anthony Thackeray kicked a drop goal as the seconds ticked down to half-time and the Rams’ momentum continued after the interval with Grady going over for his second 10 minutes in to the second period. Wayne Reittie responded soon after for the Bulldogs but, in a performance dominated by the strong visiting defence and a superb in-play kicking game, the Rams maintained their advantage and man of the match Matty Wildie closed out the scoring with a try on 71 minutes.
Playing up Mount Pleasant’s notorious slope, the visitors enjoyed a fine start with Grady touching down after a kick through from Anthony Thackeray caused confusion in the hosts’ defence. Batley produced a spirited response but a long spell of pressure came to an end thanks to an outstanding covering tackle from Grady to put Shaun Ainscough into touch when he had the try-line in his sights.
Having repelled that threat, the Rams, aided by a penalty, raced up field and Farrell proved to be the eventual beneficiary, bouncing over out wide for the visitors’ second try his first touch of the ball after coming off the bench – following a short ball from Thackeray.
Dale Morton’s conversion attempt drifted wide but he landed a penalty goal soon after to hand the Rams a 10-0 lead after 23 minutes.
Helped by two drop-outs in quick succession, the Dogs dominated possession for the remainder of the half as Dewsbury were forced to fend off an onslaught.
But the visitors defended manfully, repelling no less than 10 sets on their own line and were next to trouble the scoreboard. Thackeray coolly slotted over an extra point with seconds left of the first 40 to hand his side an 11-0 lead at the break.
Batley were on top in the opening stages of the second period but Wildie relieved the pressure with a 40-20 and, after Farrell caused havoc with a blockbusting run, Grady was well positioned to crash over out wide on the next play. Morton was unsuccessful with the kick to leave the Rams 15-0 up after 50 minutes.
Wayne Reittie gave the home side some hope five minutes later when he squeezed in on the right edge, with Cain Southernwood adding a fine touchline conversion.
And the ‘Dogs were in the ascendancy but Anthony Nicholson fumbled the ball in a promising area, before Dalton Grant picked up a poor kick and raced 60 metres to hand the Rams some much-needed field position.
Tom Hemingway returned to kicking duties and eased Dewsbury nerves with a long-range penalty goal, extending his side’s advantage to 11 points.
And, after a sustained spell of pressure, the visitors sealed the win with nine minutes to play. It was Wildie who dummied his way through a gap in the home defence, scampering over in the corner to move the Rams fourth.