Dewsbury Rams 34
Widnes Vikings 34
By Andrew Hunt
DEWSBURY Rams showed great character to earn a thrilling draw against Super League bound Widnes Vikings last Sunday.
Trailing 34-28 heading into the final minute Ayden Faal was stopped inches short of the line before Dominic Brambani darted from acting half-back but was held up. Pat Walker chipped to the left and impressive winger Austin Buchanan leapt above a defender and juggled the ball before storming over for a try.
Brambani held his nerve to curl over a fine conversion and snatch a draw.
It was no more than the Rams deserved and with a little more luck, they could easily have come away with an important win.
The Rams stormed into an early 16-0 lead as they showed great attacking play to cut Widnes apart.
After just six minutes, Brambani chipped to the left and Faal leapt to gather and score, with Brambani converting from out wide.
Brambani then kicked to the opposite corner and when Widnes allowed the ball to bounce, Elliot Cosgrove picked it up and drove in. Although he was stopped the centre managed to flip a pass out for Scott Turner to dive in at the right corner.
Although Brambani pulled his conversion wide, back-to-back penalties took Dewsbury close for debutant full-back Elliot Hodgson to hold off a defender and plunged over for a third try in 17 minutes. Brambani added the goal.
Widnes had shown little in the way of attack but they hit back, moving the ball right to create a huge gap that allowed Chaz I’Anson to cross and Steve Tyrer converted.
That signalled the start of a three-try burst in 10 minutes as hooker Thomas Coyle sent Macgraff Leuluai over and I’Anson then scooted in for his second. Tyrer added both conversions as Widnes turned the game on its head to lead 18-16.
On the stroke of half-time I’Anson sent David Allen crashing over at the side of the posts and Tyrer’s conversion stretched the Vikings lead.
Dewsbury fans must have feared their side was heading for a fifth straight defeat but the Rams showed real character to battle back after the break.
Substitute Luke Menzies was sent through a gap for what looked like a certain try only to be pulled back for a forward pass.
Dewsbury came again and when the ball went to ground, Widnes players stood waiting for a whistle, while Buchanan scooped it up, raced through and drew the defender to send Cosgrove over for a try which Brambani goaled.
Kevin Penny leapt to gather another Brambani high kick only to drop the ball when running away from his line. Cosgrove gathered and sent Brambani over for a try which he converted as the Rams led 28-24.
Dewsbury looked to have scored a decisive try after 60 minutes when Pat Walker kicked towards the posts and Brambani palmed it back, before quick hands saw the ball moved right for Wainwright to cross.
As Dewsbury players celebrated, referee Tim Roby consulted his touch judge and ruled the try out for offside.
To rub salt into the wounds, Widnes went straight to the other end and Paddy Flynn pounced on a kick to score. Tyrer converted.
Tyrer added his name to the try scorers after 71 minutes but crucially he missed with the conversion attempt and the Vikings’ lead was only six points.
Dewsbury fans who left early would have missed Buchanan’s late score, with Brambani’s conversion snatching a dramatic draw in another breathless encounter.
Dewsbury Rams: Hodgson; Wainwright, Turner, Faal, Buchanan; P walker, Brambani; England, Blake, Hirst, Tonks, Spicer, Cosgrove. Subs: Menzies, J Walker, Smith, Glassell.
Widnes Vikings: Flynn; Gaskell, Ropati, Tyrer, Penny; I’Anson, Mellor; Pickersgill, Coyle, Kavanagh, Leuluai, Grady, Allen. Subs: Varjkulis, Sculthorpe, Tomkins, Crosby.
Referee: Tim Roby. Attendance 1,083.