Dewsbury and Batley this afternoon played out a keenly contested game at Blackpool in the Summer Bash on Sunday afternoon, with the Bulldogs emerging victorious at the end.
Performing in front of what seemed a tiny crowd at times, the players nonetheless approached their task with gusto and passion, if skill at times was somewhat lacking.
It was Sykes who bagged a try in the 13th minute to put Dewsbury further ahead, as Batley looked to be struggling with the occasion, and facing a 12-0 deficit with less than 15 minutes played.
Chris Ulugia pulled Batley back into things after 18 minutes with a sharply taken try, the former Mackay Cutters centre capitalising on a fine kick from Cain Southernwood.
Greg Minnikin, on dual registration from Castleford, scored Batley’s second try in the 25th minute, going over on the right hand edge after collecting a deft kick from Dominic Brambani.
Patch Walker knocked over a penalty in the 36th minute to even things up at 12-12 just ahead of the break.
But Dale Morton scored his tenth try of the season in the 39th minute, follwing a fine spinning kick from Sykes.
The standard of the first half was mixed at best, with errors and mistakes dominating proceedings, as the teams went in at 18-12.
Sykes was on target again, this time with a penalty, to extend his team’s lead to 20-12 in the 45th minute.
But Batley find a way back in, with James Brown crossing for a four-pointer, the forward showing good strength to power over from close range.
Dewsbury were suffering for giving away so many penalties, as they struggled to turn the screw on Batley.
That inability to finish off the Bulldogs came back to bite the Rams in the 53 minute, when Tom Lillycrop crossed for a try for Batley.
But the game swung back into Dewsbury’s favour, when Dalton Grant scored in the left hand corner in the 62nd minute. Sykes missed the conversion, and the score was level at 24-24 with 17 minutes remaining.
Pat Walker kicked the Bulldogs back into the lead by kicking a pently from 45 metres out in the 67th minute to make it 26-24.
Walker put his team further into the lead with a drop goal with six minutes remaining. He struck another one in the last minute to make it 28-24 to the Bulldogs.
That was how it ended. Apart from a pushing and shoving match on the halfway line, which ended with a Batley penalty and the final whistle.
Dewsbury 24- 28 Batley.