DEWSBURY RAMS’S top four ambitions suffered a serious setback at the hands of Championship Shield strugglers Whitehaven, who dominated at the Tetley’s Stadium to secure a 56-12 victory.
It was by far Whitehaven’s strongest performance of the season as they mount one last push to retain their Championship status for another year.
An enthusiastic start to the game gave the visitors an early platform to build on, which they did in the latter part of he contest, after the hosts rallied during the periods immediately before and after the interval.
Whitehaven made a start to the game befitting of their current circumstances, successfully winning back a short kick-off before working the ball right for Dave Allen to force his way over.
The conversion attempt from Ed Chamberlain shaved the front of the posts.
The Rams launched their own attack in response and earned a penalty for a ball steal, but the threat was easily nullified by the Whitehaven defence.
Dion Aiye’s offload in the tackle created the opportunity for Ugo Perez to charge towards the line, but the Rams defence scrambled and forced a knock-on over the try-line from Jessie Joe Parker on the last tackle.
Then, after Whitehaven were penalised for an incorrect play the ball, the Rams forced a drop-out from Tom Hemingway’s grubber kick, but an unforced error let the visitors off the hook.
Dewsbury continued to be wasteful with the ball, despite two further penalties awarded their way, and Allen made the hosts pay by weaving his way through for his second try of the half.Chamberlain converted from in front of the posts.
The Rams eventually found a response 10 minutes before half-time after Whitehaven had coughed up possession in their own half.
Young prop-forward Jack Teanby charged onto a short ball and had enough downward momentum to ground it. Hemingway converted from left of the posts.
The scrappy nature of the game endured into the closing stages of the first half, with neither side appearing capable of completing a set.
Whitehaven ended the half in an attacking position, but they were unable to add to their slender half-time lead.
The Rams made a more energetic start to the second period and enjoyed several early attacking opportunities.
The home side’s reward came seven minutes after the restart when Teanby drove over from close range for his second try, from Nathan Conroy’s delayed short pass.
Hemingway added the goal from in front of the posts to give Dewsbury the lead for the first time in the contest, but it didn’t last long.
James Newton exploited a messy situation at marker to zip over from close range and Chamberlain converted to make it 12-16.
The visitors extended their lead just shy of the hour when an offload from a touchline-bound Dale Morton was scooped up by Aiye, who showed tremendous footwork and pace to beat the covering defence and crash over in the corner.
Chamberlain was narrowly wide with his conversion attempt from the out on the left, but he made no mistake from in front of the posts after Carl Forster pounced on Grant Gore’s grubber kick to put three scores between the sides with just over 15 minutes remaining.
A short restart won back by the hosts and a penalty offered Dewsbury the chance to respond, but the ball was spilled into touch on the first tackle.
The game-breaking score came in the 68th minute, when Anthony Walker shrugged off a weak defensive effort to stroll under the posts for Haven.
Chamberlain converted to put the visitors 20 points in front and they continued to apply pressure in the minutes that followed, to the frustration of the home supporters who had seen their side take Bradford Bulls all the way the previous week.
Further misery was piled on when Ted Chapplehow weaved his way over for Chamberlain to convert, and Forster twisted over shortly after to underline the visitors’ dominance on the day.
They hit the 50-point mark when Ben Davies was quickest to a ricocheted grubber kick under the posts, and Glen Riley added a final try on the hooter following a one-on-one ball steal close to the Rams try-line.
The handsome victory, combined with Halifax’s win over Oldham, means the Cumbrian side survive for another week ahead of Sunday’s crunch clash with Scott Naylor’s men.
The Rams remain fourth but missed out on a golden opportunity to consolidate their position ahead of Swinton Lions.