Festive cheer for Bulldogs as Rams’ fight-back falls short

Batley Bulldogs celebrate scoring during the Boxing Day derby against Dewsbury Rams.
Batley Bulldogs celebrate scoring during the Boxing Day derby against Dewsbury Rams.

Batley Bulldogs retained the Roy Powell Trophy as they overcame neighbours Dewsbury Rams in the traditional Boxing Day fixture at Fox’s Biscuits Stadium.

Both clubs paid tribute to former Leeds, Bradford and Batley forward Powell, exactly 20 years after his death aged just 33.

It was a new-look Rams side who took to the field and they will have pleased new coach Lee Greenwood with the effort shown, especially in the second half.

The Rams battled back from a 10-0 interval deficit and threatened to snatch a draw after Sam Day’s late try, but the Bulldogs held on for victory.

Batley made the perfect start to the derby clash, playing up the slope and led after just three minutes.

Dane Manning spun away from a tackle to off-load and play was shifted to Dominic Brambani, who broke through and sent full-back Dave Scott racing over by the posts, with Scott also tagging on the goal.

Dewsbury suffered a double blow when Jode Sheriffe was forced off for a head test after colliding with teammate Dale Morton.

Tobias Richardson was also forced off injured after falling heavily when making a tackle.

A dangerous Brambani kick-through was hacked dead by the scrambling Rams defence as Batley continued on the front foot.

Dewsbury’s best chance early on came when Jordan Andrade drove the ball in but lost possession in a promising position.

Brambani looked to have scored a second Bulldogs try when he danced through the Rams’ defence only to be pulled back for obstruction.

Dewsbury had a spell of pressure and they forced Batley to drop out but the attack came to nothing when a second kick to the in-goal rolled dead.

Batley mounted a swift counter attack upfield when Johnny Campbell broke from the tap.

Batley won a penalty and moved play swiftly left when Louis Jouffret produced a lovely cut out pass to put Campbell in at the corner.

Scott was unable to convert but Batley led 10-0 at half-time with the advantage of playing down the slope to come.

Dewsbury made a bright start to the second half and Robbie Ward looked to have pulled a try back when he was held up over the line after going alone from a tap penalty.

Dewsbury eventually crossed for a 52nd minute try when Paul Sykes off-loaded for Lucas Walshaw to crash over but Sykes was unable to convert.

Batley extended their lead when Manning was held up over the line following a powerful drive but from the next play, Michael Ward crashed over and Scott tagged on the conversion for a 16-4 lead.

Day pulled a try back and Sykes gave the Rams hope when he converted.

There was late drama when Adam Ryder nicked the ball from Scott and went for the line but Sam Smeaton made a dramatic last ditch tackle and the Rams centre was penalised for a double movement as Batley held on for victory.

Batley Bulldogs: Scott; Tomlinson, Smeaton, Wood, Campbell; Jouffret, Brambani; Gledhill, Leak, Everett, Downs, Manning, J Brown. Subs: Brearley, Bretherton, Bruce, Dickinson, Ogden, Taira, Ward.

Dewsbury Rams: Morton, Gabriel, Leeming, Ryder, A Brown; Sykes, Heckford; Sheriffe, Ward, Richardson, Walshaw, Knowles, Trout. Subs: Thomas, Andrade, Day, Garratt, King, Martin, Harrison,

Match Referee: Nicholas Bennett.

attendance: 1,703