DEWSBURY RAMS secured another impressive victory as a full-blooded effort earned them a deserved success over play-off chasing Widnes Vikings (20-8).
Following on from a win at Halifax in their previous league game, the Rams again showed that effort and desire can trump bigger budgets and pedigree as they fought through torrid conditions to claim the two points.
The Rams led from the 10th minute onwards and coach Lee Greenwood felt that was crucial on a very muddy Tetley’s Stadium pitch.
“I thought we performed well in the first two games and we felt it was just a case of carrying that on and we’d be somewhere near and it’d be hard for Widnes,” he said.
“I think with the conditions and the pitch as they were, it was important for someone to get in front. It wasn’t a game for you to be chasing. We weren’t behind at any point so that was probably key to it.
“The pitch isn’t brilliant so for both teams to complete at a decent rate and not drop the ball at every play-the-ball, hats off to both. I think we did well to get in the lead, we took the couple of chances that we got and then we defended like machines.”
Widnes boss Tim Sheens admitted the opposition adapted better to the circumstances: “They held the conditions a lot better than we did. It’s their home ground so they know it well.
“We were in the game at half-time and then we had the wind behind us. We didn’t defend well enough in my opinion, we didn’t win the tackles, and then we took some poor options and didn’t take our chances.”
The first try, after 10 minutes, was full of surprises. Centre Matty Fleming improvised a reverse kick in behind and the defender inadvertently kicked it back across into the path of Michael Knowles, who showed great footwork to dribble the ball forward and ground.
Paul Sykes added the conversion and extended the lead to 8-0 with a penalty when the Vikings markers weren’t square.
Widnes hit back three minutes after that with another unorthodox try. A Joe Lyons kick bounced off a defender and looped in the air above the try-line before Ellis Robson, one of three players on dual-registration from Warrington, reached high enough to bring it down and score, with Jack Owens converting.
A much simpler try on the half-hour saw the Rams stretch their lead again when hooker Sam Day darted out of dummy-half and squeezed between two defenders, with the only response before half-time an Owens penalty on the hooter to make it 14-8.
Both sides applied some pressure early in the second half but it was Dewsbury who proved the more clinical again. This try owed plenty to winger Andy Gabriel, who brilliantly palmed down a high Liam Finn kick to the corner, into the arms of his centre Adam Ryder.
Widnes had their opportunities to get back into the game. Great work by Sykes to drill a drop-out into touch saw them escape a repeat set, and superb defence then saw Pat Moran held up before Connor Dwyer lost the ball over the line.
Another addition from Warrington, Jake Mamo, got on the end of an exciting break but lacked composure when he rashly chucked the ball inside, and it looked at that point like it wouldn’t be their day.
Further errors meant the Rams were untroubled late on, and could even extend their winning margin with the final kick of the game as Sykes slotted his fifth goal over with a simple penalty.