Photo: Simon Hall
DEWSBURY RAMS secured a first win of the season with a determined team performance to defeat Halifax (16-18) in a re-arranged match on Tuesday night.
The original tie was postponed on Sunday as Storm Dennis made its mark on The Shay and things threatened to get stormy again two days later with four cards being shown, including reds for Dewsbury’s Dom Speakman and Halifax’s Scott Grix following a scuffle.
Referee Cameron Worsley also dished out yellow cards to Kevin Larroyer and Ed Barber in an ill-disciplined first half from the hosts, with Dewsbury going into the break 6-0 up.
Fax came out fired up in the second half but the Rams wouldn’t be beaten and tries from Matty Gee, debuting on dual registration from Hull KR, and Andy Gabriel earned them the narrow win.
Rams coach Lee Greenwood said: “I’m really happy with that and it’s a much-needed win in terms of confidence.
“We upset Halifax and rattled them a bit, which is probably why the penalty count was as it was,” he added. “There was a lot of Halifax trying to get the penalty from us and the referee seeing that.”
Greenwood didn’t see the incident which resulted in two red cards but Halifax boss Simon Grix was sure that Speakman was the aggressor, and gave a muted criticism of the referee’s overall performance.
“He (Scott Grix) punched after being defenceless on the floor, having a knee dropped in his face. That’s a red card. I’m not sure defending yourself should be,” he said.
“(The half-time penalty count was) 10-2 then after 10 minutes it’s 4-0 to us in the second half. It tells a bit of a story.”
The first-half narrative was all about Halifax indiscipline and calls which made the official a very unpopular figure in the ground.
Dewsbury were 4-0 up after the opening quarter thanks to two Sykes kicks, while both sides lost key players to injury with home scrum-half Tom Gilmore and Rams hooker Sam Day going off.
Larroyer was the first to be carded when he held down too long with his side on a team warning. Sykes made it 6-0 with the resulting penalty and Barber then joined his teammate on the sideline after kicking out.
Dewsbury came as close as they had to a try all half when Speakman was held up, but the following scuffle saw two reds dished out and meant reshuffles for both teams, with Liam Finn moving to hooker and, for Halifax, Scott Murrell playing just about everywhere.
Fax came out fired up in the second half and looked to have turned things around with two quick tries. A misread in defence saw space open for Murrell to breeze over, before a Michael Knowles missed tackle allowed Jodie Broughton through.
An awkward bounce from the restart kick turned the momentum around though, with the Rams attacking from the drop out and Finn’s short pass seeing Gee over from close range.
Parity lasted only five minutes as James Woodburn-Hall’s looping pass gave Broughton his second in the corner. Woodburn-Hall nailed the first two conversions but crucially couldn’t add this touchline effort.
Back came Dewsbury again – Sonny Esslemont and Finn were held up in one dangerous attacking set, before Joe Martin’s pin-point kick to the corner from deep at the end of the next was missed by the defender to allow the chasing Gabriel to touch down.
Sykes put them ahead with his fifth goal of the game and, despite a couple of errors making some nervy spells of defence required, they held on.