Bulldogs edge rivals Rams in festive clash

Wrapped up: Dewsbury's Josh Tonks is tackled by Bulldogs defenders Jake Connor and Vinny Finigan.
Wrapped up: Dewsbury's Josh Tonks is tackled by Bulldogs defenders Jake Connor and Vinny Finigan.

Batley Bulldogs earned the Boxing Day derby bragging rights after edging out Dewsbury Rams 10-4 at Tetley’s Stadium.

Once again the traditional Christmas clash proved popular among supporters as long queues formed outside the ground and the kick off was delayed by some 15 minutes.

With new players on either side keen to make an early impression there were some fiesty moments in the opening minutes.

It was two of Batley’s close season signings who created the game’s first chance after 20 minutes.

Impressive scrum-half Scott Leatherbarrow broke through to set up a good field position and second row Joe Chandler looked to have crashed over against the side with which he had a loan spell.

The Rams defence managed to hold Chandler up as the deadlock remained, while Gregg Scott looked to have scored for the Rams when he pounced on a grubber kicked only to be deemed offside.

Leatherbarrow was again on hand as Batley drew first blood just two minutes before half-time.

The scrum-half sent up a towering kick and when the Rams defence hesitated, full-back Jake Connor capitalised to gather and race over unopposed for the try.

Lee Paterson was unable to convert but Batley held a slender 4-0 lead at half-time.

Johnny Campbell was alert to halt a Scott break soon after the restart as the Rams began the second half brightly.

Louis Sheriff delighted Dewsbury fans on his first appearance in a Rams jersey when he sent out a lovely looping pass for Dale Morton to race onto and over for the equalising try.

Although Tom Hemingway was unable to convert, Dewsbury were on top and piled on the pressure but were denied by solid Batley defence particularly from Vinny Finigan and Jay Leary.

Back-to-back penalties allowed Batley to relieve the pressure and they struck the winning blow six minutes from full-time when former Ram Luke Blake scooted from acting-half back and over for the try.

Paterson landed the conversion and it was the Bulldogs contingent in the 2,346 crowd who went away happy.