DEWSBURY RAMS were seen off by inform London Broncos 22-18 in another narrow defeat which meant the capital club went top of the Championship.
The visitors started much the better of the teams and thought they had taken the lead after 11 minutes but the referee ruled Luke Adamson’s effort offside as he ran onto a Paul Sykes chip.
Four minutes later, Dalton Grant finished off in the left corner, thanks to two involvements from Brad Delaney, who also converted from the touchline.
The Broncos’ equalising score was all about the skills of Rhys Williams. He stopped sharply near the touchline 30 metres out, fended off two tacklers, jinked past a third and then rolled over between two more Rams to ground the ball.
The Rams showed fine defensive skills in repelling many London attacks and when Joe Keyes threw a careless interception, the Rams went downfield aided by a penalty. Three tackles later, Jason Crookes went over near to the left touchline and Delaney restored his side's six-point advantage.
Williams scored his second try just before half-time, set up by a long pass from Elliot Kear, but Wes Naiqama failed to improve this try.
Early in the second half, Dewsbury’s Sykes and London’s Mark Ioane failed to ground the ball when over the line so the score remained unchanged for almost all of the third quarter.
Then, in the 58th minute, Will Barthau gave London their first lead. He chipped into space and was the quickest to react to the bouncing ball, grounding near to the back of the in-goal area.
When Matt Garside crashed over from five metres out with 13 minutes remaining, and Naiqama added his third conversion, London’s lead was 10 points and they seemed to be in the comfort zone.
But that changed when Naiqama was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle on Tobi Adamson, seen by the touch-judge. The Rams reacted badly to the challenge, but the only player to be carded was the Broncos captain.
A quick Dewsbury score would have made for a very tense final few minutes but, by the time Kyle Trout touched down a kick from Delaney in the right corner and Sykes kicked a magnificent pressure conversion, there were barely 90 seconds remaining.
Forced to play desperation rugby for their final attacking set, Dewsbury threw one hopeful pass too many and Grant could only watch it sail into touch.
London coach Andrew Henderson said: “I thought we were disappointing with the ball, it was probably the worst performance of the season. We weren’t willing to play the tough stuff early on. It probably led to the errors we made.
“But I can’t take anything away from the defensive effort. It was great. We really worked hard together, especially when we were down to 12 men. The defence have us the last three games.
“If we are going to achieve what we want to achieve, we have to be better with the ball.”
Dewsbury coach Glenn Morrison said: “This mirrored last week’s game. We started well, but then our game management let us down. We should have gone in at half-time six points up, not only two. I am proud of the effort the boys put in, but we really should have won against both Featherstone last week and London.
“London tested our inexperienced players and it meant that others had to come over to cover them and that created overlaps. But, in the same circumstances, I would have done the same as London did.”