Dewsbury Rams 16
Hunslet Hawks 8
By Andrew Hunt
DEWSBURY Rams ground out a hard-fought victory over a determined Hunslet Hawks outfit at Tetley’s Stadium last Sunday.
It was Dewsbury’s third win of the season and was enough to lift them up to fourth place in the Co-operative Championship, just a point behind joint leaders Featherstone and Halifax.
Any hope of seeing a free-flowing game were ruined by the awful conditions as both sides were guilty of handling mistakes.
It was a day when the forwards had to work hard and in props Steve Crossley and Ben Jones, Dewsbury again had two stand-out players as both put in long stints.
The Hawks put Dewsbury under early pressure as dropped balls gifted Hunslet possession, while they also forced the home side to drop-out from between their posts.
However, the visitors were unable to capitalise until the 16th minute, when Dewsbury were penalised for stealing the ball in a tackle and Joe McLocklan hammered over the goal from in front of the posts.
Patch Walker threatened with a couple of testing high kicks, which were well dealt with by Hunslet full-back Elliott Hodgson.
Dewsbury had a spell of pressure midway through the first half and finally broke through for the opening try after 30 minutes.
Walker again kicked through before he was taken out off the ball.
It would normally have resulted in a penalty but the ball struck a Hawks defender and rolled towards the line. Referee Gareth Hewer waved play on and Rams full-back James Craven gathered and raced unopposed to the line, with Walker tagging on the conversion.
Hunslet’s response was immediate as they struck back to regain the lead.
Play was moved left and ex-Dewsbury man Luke Haigh sent out a pass to another former Ram John Oakes.
The home defence stood anticipating a forward pass and Oakes dived in at the corner before McLocklan landed a towering touchline goal.
Errors continued after the break but the Rams defence improved to deny Hunslet further scoring opportunities.
Liam Hood, on loan from Leeds Rhinos, showed a glimpse of his skills when he skipped through a gap and with players both sides he chose to slip a pass inside to substitute Michael Wainwright and the Hawks defence recovered to make the tackle.
The game hinged on two home tries in the space of five second-half minutes as Dewsbury turned things around.
The impressive Walker chipped the ball with the outside of his boot and Craven leapt to gather and race behind the posts for his second try. Walker converted.
Dewsbury then mounted another attack and having pulled the Hunslet defence right, then left, winger Austin Buchanan was on the end of the sweeping move to dive in at the corner for an unconverted try.
Hunslet tried hard in the remaining 17 minutes but were the Dewsbury defence remained solid as they held on for a very satisfactory victory.
n The prizewinners in the Dewsbury Rams v Hunslet Hawks tickets competition, organised by league sponsors, the Co-operative, were Darren Lodge of Thornhill, Mr D Holden of Gawthorpe and Gary Schofield of Dewsbury.
They all correctly answered that the Hunslet coach is Barry Eaton.