Dewsbury Rams 20
Sheffield Eagles 30
By Andrew Hunt
DEWSBURY Rams produced a gallant display to push play-off bound Sheffield Eagles all the way in their final game of the Co-operative Championship season.
The Rams battled back from 24-10 down to reduce the arrears to 24-20 going into the final minutes of the match.
Dewsbury had Sheffield on the back foot and having scored two tries in four minutes, they launched another attack.
Scott Spaven kicked the ball ahead but a Rams attacker appeared to be tripped when chasing through.
The incident went unpunished and from the resulting Eagles attack, former Ram Dominic Brambani skipped over for the match-clinching try as the final hooter sounded. Brambani also landed the conversion to give the final scoreline a somewhat flattering look.
The Rams were without first choice props Steve Crossley and Ben Jones but showed great heart to push a big, robust Eagles side all the way.
Rob Spicer typified the Rams effort when he produced a bone crunching tackle on Jack Howieson, forcing the Sheffield prop to leave the field looking very groggy.
The Eagles struck first when Michael Knowles fed Dane McDonald, who went over for an unconverted try.
Another neat passing move saw Knowles slip a pass to Misi Taulapaia and he sent winger Nev Mosrrison over on the left.
Sheffield added a third try after 26 minutes when they spread the ball right and Taulapaia had the simple task of touching down. The usually reliable Brambani was off target with his third conversion attempt and the lead remained 12-0.
The introduction of Matthew Tebb swung the game as he immediately got Dewsbury moving forward.
With Dewsbury attacking close, Tebb gathered a chip to touch down, only to be judged offside but the Rams attacked again, putting Sheffield back under pressure.
Patch Walker sold a lovely dummy and although he was tackled, the stand-off was prevented from playing the ball and from the resulting penalty, Dewsbury drove close before Tebb darted from acting half-back and managed to get the ball down despite being held by three defenders. Walker tagged on the goal and Dewsbury only trailed 12-6 at half-time.
Menze Yere eased Sheffield nerves barging his way to the line early in the second half, with Brambani converting, but Dewsbury hit back straight away as Jamaine Akaidere squeezed in at the left corner for an excellent try.
James Davey stepped out of a tackle and over for Sheffield’s fifth try, which Brambani improved, before Dewsbury fought back in style.
Spaven chipped the ball left and Akaidere leapt to gather before drawing a defender and slipping a lovely pass outside for Greg Scott to score and give the Rams hope with nine minutes remaining.
Sheffield now look nervous and when they failed to deal with Walker’s neat grubber kick to the in-goal area, Ryan Esders was alert to pounce and score. Walker slotted over the conversion to make it 24-20.
Sheffield were desperately hanging on as they needed to win to guarantee a home tie in the play-offs but Dewsbury threatened to snatch victory until Brambani’s last-gasp converted try.
Dewsbury had given their all despite defeat and they left the field to a standing ovation from the Rams faithful.
Dewsbury Rams: Craven; Akaidere, G Scott, Cosgrove, Wainwright; Walker, Spaven; Singleton, Hood, Chandler, Spicer, Tonks, Blake. Subs: Tebb, Esders, Barlow, Flanagan.
Sheffield Eagles: Laulu-Togagae; Turner, Yere, Taulapaia, Morrison; McDonald, Brambani; Howieson, Henderson, Stringer, Knowles, S Scott, Szostak. Subs: Davey, Green, Hepworth, Higgins.
Referee: Warren Turley.