DEWSBURY Rams will borrow ground covers from Castleford Tigers to help ensure the eagerly anticipated Boxing Day derby against Batley Bulldogs can go ahead.
When Dewsbury last staged the popular challenge match in 2009, a crowd of 2,411 turned up and that was despite heavy snowfall in the build-up to the game. A group of volunteers turned up on the day to help clear the pitch.
Last season’s game at Mount Pleasant was postponed on Christmas Eve when it became apparent that there was no chance of staging it on Boxing Day due to a sustained frozen spell.
The game eventually took place on January 2, when 2,027 fans saw Batley retain the Roy Powell Trophy with a 30-6 win.
There is a good deal of interest among both sets of supporters this time, following a number of big name signings on either side of the valley.
Among those who could figure are ex Super League stars Nick Fozzard, who is relishing the prospect of pulling on a Dewsbury shirt in his first Heavy Woollen derby, and Ben Fisher, who joined the Bulldogs last Saturday having being released by Hull KR.
Rams chairman Mark Sawyer said: “We have managed to borrow some covers and were picking them up this week.
“Early suggestions appear for favourable weather and that everything could be OK on Boxing Day but the forecast and what actually happens could be two very different things.
“It is important for both clubs that the game takes place on Boxing Day and it would be a big blow to the finances if it was called off.”
Dewsbury supporters got an early chance to see the new signings at last Friday’s ‘meet the players’ evening, which the club hailed a huge success.
The Rams have now sold more than 300 season tickets and with two months to go before the start of the season, there is a good chance of them reaching the 500 mark, which would earn the club a £15,000 bonus from sponsor Eric France Scrap Metal.
Just four new supporters have bought a ticket for next season, so it leaves well over 200 existing fans who have not yet renewed.
Mr Sawyer added: “Last year we had 570 season ticket holders but there was a deadline put in a place where they had to be bought before Christmas.
“This time, there is no such deadline so we are hopeful that we can reach 500.”
Dewsbury also unveiled three playing strips last Friday.
The home shirt will please traditionalists as it is red, amber and black hoops. The first choice away strip is predominantly white, while a second away shirt is a little more radical with flashes of red and amber on a black background.
Mr Sawyer added: “It’s a bit like marmite, you either love it or hate it.”
But coach Warren Jowitt has revealed the new look ‘camouflage’ shirt has gone down well with players and fans alike, adding: “The players love it and the younger generation of fans love it, you have to move with the times.”
The new-look snazzy away jersey could be used in cup ties or when there is a clash with the home side and the Rams white away shirts.
Supporters are reminded that season tickets include £10 vouchers to buy any two of the three shirts and they are available from the club on 01924 465489.