Maroons battle hard in close defeat to more experienced Saddleworth outfit

Archie Bruce was Dewsbury Moor's man-of-the-natch in defeat to Saddleworth last Saturday.
Archie Bruce was Dewsbury Moor's man-of-the-natch in defeat to Saddleworth last Saturday.

Dewsbury Moor slipped to a 28-18 defeat to relegation rivals Saddleworth Rangers in National Conference Division One last Saturday.

The small Saddleworth pitch suited the physical home side, while the torrential rain which fell for 80 minutes also didn’t help Moor’s chances.

Moor were again without key players, through injury or other commitments, a trait of the 2019 season that has impacted them weekly with debuts were handed to youngsters Alex Hollingsworth and Elliot Sheard.

The game started at a very high pace and both teams made fun of the weather with some great skill on show.

Both sets of forwards were at the heart of the action in a scoreless opening 20 minutes with captain James Samme leading the way for the Maroons, supported by Cammy Bruce and Brad Adams.

The game was turning into a real physical encounter, when Saddleworth broke the deadlock after 25 minutes.

They broke through and although covering half-back Tom Kaye produced a fine last-ditch tackle, a lack of concentration saw home hooker Adam Walker dive over from the play the ball and Josh Bradbury converted for a 6-0 lead.

Moor responded with a spell of pressure and forced a drop out, only for a mistake at the kick to gift Saddleworth possession and second row Ben Foster broke away to score with Bradbury converting.

A high kick appeared to hit the head of the Maroons winger but Saddleworth were awarded the scrum and Walker scooted over for his second try, which Bradbury goaled.

Moor spent the rest of the half on the Saddleworth line and a smart ball by Conner Vickers saw Brad Adams burst through to score wide out. Brad Foster converted and reduced the half-time deficit to 18-6.

Moor again showed their attacking prowess when a good move up the middle saw Tom Kaye tackled short but Archie Bruce picked up the ball from acting half-back and produced a neat grubber kick as he regathered to score between the posts and Brad Foster converted.

Moor piled on the pressure but couldn’t break down a fast and organised defence.

Rangers survived and then struck a body blow with a Bradbury try which he converted before adding a penalty when Moor were caught offside.

Moor again responded and gave themselves hope with a 70th minute try as Vickers fed Tom Harrington with an inside pass and he barged through three defenders to touch down, with Foster converting.

Bradbury kicked a late penalty for his sixth goal but Moor could be proud of their efforts against a more experienced team, with Bruce collecting their man-of-the-match.