Heavy woollen derby rivals Batley Bulldogs and Dewsbury Rams met in the final game of Summer Bash 2017 to round off a record breaking weekend that saw a cumulative attendance of 16,444 at Bloomfield Road over both days.
A 60th minute drop goal from Paul Sykes earned Dewsbury only their second win of the league season as they came out on top 13-12 in the final analysis.
Three minutes into a fierce derby clash the Rams took the lead when James Glover struck a third minute penalty.
For the next few minutes there was precious little quality on show with cheap turnovers and penalties stacking up.
Dominic Brambani was shown a yellow card in the 15th minute and Dewsbury moved into range but pressure on Tom Hemingway saw a mistake and in frustration Batley were handed a penalty. Again the Bulldogs couldn’t make the most of possession.
Dewsbury then opened the defence with Speakman sending Aaron Brown running clear but a forward pass brought him back.
The game desperately needed a try.
It finally came in the 25th minute when Brambani, Cain Southernwood and Dave Scott combined for Danny Cowling to bowl in from ten metres. Southernwood couldn’t convert but Batley held sway, 4-2.
Eleven minutes from the break former Dewsbury man Joel Farrell conceded a penalty and Glover converted to lock the score up at 4-4.
Three minutes later Dale Morton made an error to heap pressure on the Rams.
It was a comedy of errors until Sam Smeaton sent Wayne Reittie diving through for a try in the right corner. The Bulldogs led 8-4 but conceded a drop out. Dewsbury couldn’t convert possession into points and a generally poor half of rugby ended with advantage Bulldogs at the break.
Two minutes into the new half Shaun Ainscough was held up over the line but the scrappy nature of the game continued until Batley found a way to the line. Alex Rowe and Brad Day sliced through the middle and the ball was then sent to the left on the next play for James Harrison to get between defenders and over for their third try. Southernwood missed his third conversion and it was 12-4 to Batley.
Nine minutes into the second half Dewsbury finally cut their attacking teeth. Robbie Ward sliced through from acting halfback and Aaron Brown had the pace, strength and guile to cross after running sixty metres. Glover converted and it was 12-10.
Sadly for the Rams, Jode Sheriffe spilled the restart and Batley came right back at them. Good defence denied Manning and Rowe before it fell apart at the end of the set. Brambani knocked on, Daniel Igbinedion twice kicked on and Scott was forced to concede a drop out.
Batley then conceded a penalty and Glover nudged over his fourth goal to level things at 12-all with 26 minutes to play.
With 58 minutes gone Dom Speakman missed with a drop goal attempt that would have nudged Dewsbury in front. Batley lost the ball on halfway and the Rams came forward again. This time Paul Sykes got the drop goal right.
As the clock ticked down Dewsbury looked likely to score and Glover couldn’t ground Sykes’ astute kick and into the last ten minutes it was still 13-12 to the Rams.
With six minutes remaining Lucas Walshaw conceded a penalty thirty five metres from his own line. Dominic Brambani pushed his goal attempt wide, forcing the Rams to drop out from their own twenty metre line.
Cain Southernwood then missed with a drop goal attempt that would have drawn the sides level and the Rams carried the ball clear to pick up a valuable win that keeps them in touch with Rochdale and Swinton.
Batley: David Scott, Wayne Reittie, Sam Smeaton, Danny Cowling, Shaun Ainscough; Cain Southernwood, Dominic Brambani; Will Maher, Alistair Leak, Tom Lillycrop, Dane Manning, Joel Farrell, Brad Day. Subs: Alex Rowe, James Davey, James Harrison, Adam Gledhill.
Dewsbury: Luke Hooley, Dale Morton, James Glover, Lucas Walshaw, Lewis Fairhurst; Dom Speakman, Tom Hemingway, Jode Sheriffe, Robbie Ward, Jack Teanby, Billy Hayes, Daniel Igbinedion, Aaron Brown. Subs: Paul Sykes, Toby Adamson, Aaron Ollett, Tony Tonks.
Referee: J. Roberts.