Dewsbury Rams kicked off a weekend of celebrations the perfect way, after sending Northern Rail Cup holders Halifax crashing out of this season’s competition with a sensational 20-18 victory at Tetley’s Stadium.
Exactly 40 years ago, Dewsbury defeated red hot favourites Leeds to win the Championship and on Thursday night Glenn Morrison’s class of 2013 overcame their big underdogs tags to reach the Rail Cup quarter-finals.
Dewsbury’s performance was awesome as, to a man, they showed heart, desire and determination to run out worthy winners.
There was drama, with both sides having tries ruled out by the Premier Sports video referee, but nobody could deny that Dewsbury deserved to win.
The Rams started brightly and took a 10th minute lead when Ryan Hepworth barged over for the opening try, which Bobbie Goulding converted.
Dewsbury grew in confidence and piled on the pressure. Adam O’Brien looked to have crossed between the posts but was denied a try when the video referee ruled a double movement.
After withstanding Fax pressure, Dewsbury mounted another attack and Goulding’s kick to the right caused confusion, with Brad Watkinson pouncing to touch down.
Again referee George Stokes sought video advice and after an age the try was ruled out after Watkinson was judged to have stepped on the dead ball line before grounding the ball.
Sam Barlow looked to have scored for Halifax when he bounced off a couple of tacklers and crossed between the posts, but the video referee ruled he had knocked on.
Fax did manage to draw level in the final minute of the first off when a neat offload by Anthony Thackeray sent Callum Casey through a gap and over for a try which Steve Tyrer converted as the sides went into the break at 6-6.
When an early Rams second half move broke down, Halifax swept to the other end of the field.
Watkinson failed to gather a kick and Paul Handforth was given a simple run to the line, with Tyrer tagging on the goal.
That 46th minute try could easily have broken Dewsbury’s resolve but it was the Rams who hit back as Goulding chipped left and Rob Worrincy spilled the ball for Scott Hale to score.
Goulding was unable to convert but Dewsbury were back to within two points.
Dewsbury mounted another attack and after Makali Aizue drove towards the line, Ryan Wright produced a lovely short ball to send Tommy Gallagher over for the try. Goulding converted and the Rams led 16-12.
The main talking point came on 62 minutes when a Dewsbury kick to the in-goal area was gathered and fed, dangerously, to Ryan Fieldhouse.
The full-back beat the first line of defence and raced away before feeding Casey, who stormed 60 metres to the line.
As Halifax fans celebrated, referee Stokes again called fora second opinion and after taking an age, the try was disallowed and play taken back to the other end of the field for a Rams penalty.
Goulding calmly slotted over the goal and instead of falling two points behind, the Rams led by six.
Another Goulding penalty edged Dewsbury further ahead and it appeared Dewsbury were set for victory.
However, there was late drama as Wayne Reittie scorched in at the left corner and Handforth hammered over the goal.
There was tension as Halifax went in search of a late winner but Dewsbury held on to book a place in the quarter-finals and spark jubilant scenes among their players and supporters.
Dewsbury Rams: Pryce; Morton, Hale, Watkinson, Scott; Hyde, Goulding; Nash, O’Brien, Hepworth, Olbison, Walshaw, Brown. Subs: Aizue, Wright, Gallagher, Cosgrove.
Halifax: Filedhouse; Worrincy, Tyrer, Heaton, Reittie; Handforth, Thackeray; Tonks, C Ashall, Ambler, Manning, Divorty, Bracek. Subs: Paterson, K Ashall, Barlow, Casey.
Referee: George Stokes.