Dewsbury Rams suffered a heartbreaking defeat as Featherstone Rovers scored the clinching try three minutes from full-time at a bitterly cold Tetley’s Stadium on Sunday night.
The Rams produced some superb rugby and deservedly led 18-6 at half-time of their opening game in the Kingstone Press Cider Championship.
The Rams had played against a strong wind and driving rain and sleet into their faces but coped well with the conditions to lead at the break.
However, Rovers - backed by a large travelling support - produced a second half fightback and a try from Kyle Briggs just three minutes from the end saw them snatch a dramatic 22-20 Championship win.
Featherstone drew first blood when Liam Finn kicked through and Andy Kain pounced and the try was awarded after Thiery Alibert consulted the Premier Sports video referee.
Finn was unable to convert but did add a penalty soon after before Dewsbury battled back led by half-backs Scott Spaven and Aaron Brown.
Ryan Hepworth produced a storming drive and Brown was on his shoulder to take the pass and race over for a try converted by Dale Morton.
Scott Hale then drove for the line and somehow managed to get the ball down under three defenders, with Morton converting.
Dewsbury capitalised on numerous Rovers errors and when Spaven kicked through, Morton dived over to score and land the conversion to put the Rams 18-6 ahead.
Three minutes into the second half Andy Ellis barged over following a tremendous initial drive by ex-Ram Steve Crossley and Finn landed the goal.
Dewsbury piled on the pressure and had Rovers on the back foot for long periods.
The visitors must have been relieved when they conceded a penalty and Morton opted for goal as the Rams took a 20-12 lead.
New signing Karl Pryce landed a towering 40-20 kick but Dewsbury were unable to take advantage and Rovers fought back in the final 10 minutes.
Finn drove over the line and planted the ball down, with Alibert awarding the try without consulting the video referee. Finn also tagged on the conversion to set up a grandstand finish.
With just three minutes remaining, Rovers created an overlap and James Lockwood sent Briggs over for the winning try to break Rams hearts.