Rams suffer agonising defeat

DANNY Craven kicked a match-winning drop goal just two minutes from time as Featherstone came from behind to win 21-20 and avenge two home defeats against Dewsbury Rams last season.

With the sides locked at 20-20, Craven landed a vital one-pointer from 25-yards out but the drama still wasn’t over because Rovers were penalised when Jamie Cording blundered by picking up the ball unnecessarily after Dewsbury’s re-start failed to go 10 metres.

Scrum-half Ben Reynolds had a chance to give the Rams a last gasp victory with a penalty from halfway but his attempt fell well short.

Rovers coach Jon Sharp was full of praise for hooker Andy Ellis whose 28th minute introduction on his Featherstone comeback sparked their recovery as they snatched their third straight win.

Sharp said: “I was really pleased with the guys who came on from the bench. They all had a big influence on the game, none more so than Andy Ellis. I thought he was great.

“Andy has been back training with us for the last two weeks to get him ready to play and today he looked like he had never been away.

“His skills were smooth, his decision-making was great, his defence was excellent and he just gave us another dimension.

“How we reacted to being 14-0 down is testament to the character, fitness and the togetherness of our group. We showed composure and eventually worked our way back into it.”

Meanwhile, Dewsbury coach Glenn Morrison had admiration for his players.

“I am proud of the boys and with how they played and how they stuck in there,” he said.

“It was just a devastating loss when they put in so much good work. I think they deserved the win.

“We should have defended better the last minute before half-time when Featherstone scored.

“We gave a penalty away and let them up our end and they scored in the corner. That is was probably cost us game.”

The Rams made a dream start with a first minute try when Paul Sykes’s pass was deflected off a player and Josh Guzdek scooped up the ball to score, with Reynolds converting.

When Rovers conceded three consecutive penalties, Reynolds then took advantage of an easy kick in front of the posts to put the Rams 8-0 up.

Kyle Briggs almost found a way through from close range and Jack Omondroyd was held up over the line as Dewsbury did well to survive a spell of Featherstone pressure.

Craven then had an effort ruled out before Dewsbury’s Shane Grady weaved his way over and Reynolds goaled to give the Rams a 14 point lead.

Ellis lifted Rovers. Within two minutes of going on, the experienced hooker sent in Briggs who converted his own try.

Shortly before half-time, Anthony Thackeray and Michael Channing put in Rovers winger Kyran Johnson at the corner to cut the gap to 14-10.

Four minutes into the second half, Featherstone levelled when Briggs’s clever pass made the opening for Misi Taulapapa to cross.

The game swung back Dewsbury’s way five minutes later, however, Jason Crookes forcing his way over from close range and Reynolds adding a touchline goal.

Rovers struck back in the 53rd minute when crisp passing by Briggs, Ian Hardman and Taulapapa sent in Scott Turner for his first Rovers try.

Briggs made it 20-20 with a 71st minute penalty goal and Dewsbury’s Sykes and Featherstone’s Thackeray had unsuccessful drop goal attempts before Craven hit the target with his crucial kick.

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