Dewsbury Rams earned an impressive 28-12 victory over Salford Red Devils to ensure Austin Buchanan had the perfect result on his testimonial.
While Sunday’s clash gave Rams supporters chance to thank the stalwart of 131 Dewsbury appearances, it proved a useful exercise as Glenn Morrison’s men build towards the new Championship season.
There were a number of positives for the Rams, not least the return from injury of Aaron Brown, who produced a man-of-the-match display off the bench.
Wayne Godwin also returned from a broken arm which curtailed his involvement last season and there was a first appearance in Rams colours for former Shaw Cross Sharks player Zach Johnson.
It took just two minutes for Dewsbury to hit the front when a 40-20 on the first set by Anthony Thackeray put them on attack and Scott Hale popped up on the right to score, with Tom Hemingway converting.
Thackeray’s kicks were causing Salford problems and his lovely grubber to the line popped up for Rob Spicer to gather for the Rams second try, which Hemingway improved. Thackeray was taken off as a precaution following a knock to the arm but the Rams continued to pose a threat.
Kieran Hyde looked to have extended the Rams lead but had a try ruled out for offside before fans favourite Makali Aizue lost the ball stretching for the line following a storming run.
Aizue’s strength had Salford on the back foot each time he drove forward and the substitute powered over between the posts from 10 metres out, giving Hyde a simple conversion.
A superb Rams move opened Salford up as Godwin and Thackeray linked before Joel Farrell sent Shane Grady through but with Godwin in support the hooker was just unable to hold the final pass and the Rams led 18-0 at half-time. Karl Pryce stepped out of a tackle and over for a try three minutes after the interval, which Hyde goaled.
Salford responded well and scored two tries in three second half minutes to give themselves brief hope of success.
Carl Foster took an inside pass to cross, with Liam Hood converting, before Theo Fages and Jon Ford linked to send winger Brad England in at the left corner and Hood landed a terrific touchline goal.
Aizue produced the game’s best moment when he popped up on the left wing and made a magnificent tackle to take Salford winger Conor McGrath into touch.
Salford hopes were ended when Adam Waine was shown a red card following a head high tackle on Joel Farrell after 69 minutes.
Soon after, the Rams sealed their impressive victory when they moved play left and Sam Wood raced in at the corner.
The blustery conditions meant Hyde’s conversion attempt fell short but the Rams had done enough to ensure Buchanan celebrated his testimonial in style.
Dewsbury Rams: Hyde; Buchanan, Pryce, Grady, Grant; Wildie, Thackeray; Hepworth, Hemingway, Haggarty, Spicer, Hale, Farrell. Subs: Adamson, Morton, Godwin, Brown, Johnson, Smith, Aizue, Wood.
Salford Red Devils: Ford; McGrath, Bibby, Walton, England; Evalds, Fages; Taylor, Hood, A Waine, J Waine, Gee, Hock. Subs: Foster, Menzies, Griffin, Files, Lannon, Jones.
Referee: Chris Leatherbarrow.