DEWSBURY'S recent upturn in fortunes came to an abrupt end with a 24-8 defeat at home to top four chasers Halifax
Light rain arrived mid-way through the first half and turned the match into a real war of attrition.
Silence descended upon The Tetley’s Stadium prior to kick off as both sides paid tribute to the Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox who was killed serving her community last week.
The silence was then replaced with thunderous applause for a minute to celebrate the life of Ronan Costello – the Huddersfield Giants youngster who died last week after suffering an injury during a game.
Dewsbury made a good start to a bruising first half which boiled over in the fifth minute as Luke Adamson and Jacob Fairbank sparked a melee that required referee Michael Woodhead to speak to both captains.
Halifax started to look the more threatening, a last ditch tackle from Dewsbury full-back Josh Guzdek stopped Ben Johnson crossing the line and Matt Sarsfield lost the ball right on the Dewsbury try-line.
Will Sharp was denied by Dale Morton in the corner just before the Rams scored first on the half hour mark.
A strong run by Tony Tonks gave Dewsbury field position and, on the next play, Andy Kain fed Scott Hale who managed to power his way over.
The Rams crossed again just a few minutes later when, after they had forced a goal-line drop out, a Paul Sykes chip to the corner missed everyone and bounced kindly into the hands of the waiting Morton.
That score shocked Halifax and they responded with two quick tries before half-time.
Some great work by Sharp, Steve Tyrer and Simon Grix to keep a Scott Murrell kick alive saw Gareth Moore kick and collect to get his side’s first points of the afternoon.
Halifax went ahead right on the hooter through James Saltonstall, who gratefully accepted a perfectly weighted Murrell chip to the corner.
Halifax extended their lead to eight points 10 minutes into the second half through Mitch Calahane, who crashed over from close range.
Both number eights – Calahane and Groat – were sent to the sin-bin for their part in a brawl that attracted the interest of all 26 players on the pitch.
Steve Tyrer slotted over a penalty to make it a 10-point game with 15 minutes to go before Connor Robinson completed the scoring four minutes from the end when he chased his own grubber kick to seal the victory for Halifax.
Fax head coach Richard Marshall was pleased with the effort and concentration his side had during the game.
He said: “I thought we performed very well and the win is a bit of a bonus really.
“We managed the game in the second half a bit better than Dewsbury did but we still made a handful of errors with the ball, but I thought that our defence was good enough to deal with it.
“Our line speed and contact was first class today and there was some good attitude towards defending today.”
Dewsbury coach Glenn Morrison was disappointed his side couldn’t convert their early lead into a win.
“I don’t think the result reflected the game,” he said.
“We knew it would be a real grind and we dominated the first half. They got two tries from lucky bounces from kicks and then in the second half we didn’t get enough of the ball and didn’t get a chance to play.”