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Rams secure precious derby victory to boost survival hopes

Batley's Dave Scott is tackled by Rams defenders Lucas Walshaw and Paul Sykes.
Batley's Dave Scott is tackled by Rams defenders Lucas Walshaw and Paul Sykes.

Dewsbury Rams earned the derby bragging rights but more importantly picked up two precious points in their quest to avoid relegation from the Betfred Championship.

It took a strong second half performance by the Rams to secure a sixth win of the campaign and condemn Batley to a ninth straight defeat and Dewsbury are now five points clear of the bottom two with one game of the regular season remaining.

Like the previous two derby meetings this season, the clash was again a closely fought affair and Batley threatened to pull off a dramatic fight back with two late tries.

Batley handed a debut to new French signing Louis Jouffret at full-back and it was the visitors who struck with the opening try after nine minutes when Brad Day was on the end of a neat move to slice through the Rams defence and over to score but Patch Walker was unable to add the conversion.

Dewsbury responded well and hit back just five minutes later when Paul Sykes fed Lucas Walshaw and he powerfully burst the defensive line and went over for the try, with Sykes converting to edge the Rams ahead.

Dave Scott collected Sam Smeaton’s pass to break through before play was switched back inside for Alistair Leak to nip over for a try which Walker converted.

There was a break in play when referee John McMullen received treatment for a leg injury which forced him out of the action.

Both sides had further first half chances, the best of which saw Michael Knowles sent racing through only to be pulled back for a forward pass just before half-time.

Batley held a 10-6 interval lead but the Rams hit back just six minutes after the re-start.

Leak was sin-binned for a professional foul following a Rams break and Dewsbury took immediate advantage when new signing Adam Ryder was on the end of a good move to collect a pass to score his second try for the club.

Sykes was again on target with the conversion as Dewsbury edged back in front.

Dewsbuy capitalised on their numerical advantage as they dominated for a time.

The Rams produced a sweeping passing move to the right and winger Gareth Potts was on hand to spectacularly finish diving in at the corner.

Sykes landed a terrific goal from wide out as the Rams took control.

Dale Morton broke to set up another Rams attack but the move broke down, although Dewsbury were over for their fourth try soon after as Sykes fed Walshaw, who crashed over for his second of the game.

Sykes was unable to add the goal but the Rams were in control leading 22-10.

Batley attempted to respond but a pass to Adam Gledhill went to ground, while the Rams defence was solid to repel further attempts by the Bulldogs.

Having weathered a spell of Batley pressure, Dewsbury moved to the other end of the field and Michael Knowles slotted over a 73rd minute drop goal.

Batley finally clicked into gear and threatened an unlikely comeback.

They won the ball back from the re-start and moved play wide on the third tackle for Alex Bretherton grab what appeared only a consolation try.

Walker was wide with his conversion attempt but just two minutes later the Bulldogs were in again as Alex Rowe drove the ball towards the posts and produced a fine offload for Walker to gather to score and the half-back converted.

However, the Bulldogs had left it too late and ran out of time as Dewsbury held on for a crucial win in their bid to stave of the threat of relegation.

The Rams end their regular season with a trip to France as they face high flying Toulouse on Saturday, while Batley can do their neighbours a favour when they entertain Swinton, who are joint bottom of the table with eight points.