Bulls: Ethan Ryan, Dalton Grant, Rhys Evans, Jake Webster, David Foggin-Johnston, Jordan Lilley, Rown Milnes, Liam Kirk, Matty Wildie, Steve Crossley, Matthew Storton, Connor Farrell, Elliot Minchella. Subs: Callum Bustin, Mikey Wood, George Flanagan, Sam Hallas
Rams: Luke Hooley, Rob Worrincy, Owen Trout, Adam Ryder, Dale Morton, Michael Knowles, Liam Finn, Chris Annakin, Sam Day, Kyle Trout, Lucas Walshaw, Samy Kibula, Daniel Igbinedion. Subs: Robbie Ward, Callum Field, Jode Sherriffe, Tom Garratt
Despite a positive start to the first half and a determined fightback in the closing stages of the second, Dewsbury Rams slipped to defeat away at Bradford Bulls.
The hosts scored on the stroke of half-time to hit the front and struck twice more in the second half to lay a platform for victory. The Bulls enjoyed early pressure on the back of a penalty for holding down and they forced a repeat set when Jordan Lilley’s kick on the last bounced off a Rams player.
The Dewsbury defence held firm but they conceded a drop-out after a double-knock on behind the away try line. An outstanding tackle from Luke Hooley on Rhys Evans halted the Bulls attack after the ball was worked right and the Rams regathered possession.
Sam Day was held up over the line as the visitors gained an attacking foothold though the last tackle play that followed could not unlock the Bulls defence. But the Rams remained on the front foot and they took the lead in the 12th minute when Kyle Trout spun out of a tackle attempt to touch down under the posts, Finn added a simple conversion to make it 0-6.
The Bulls rallied in search of a response and won a penalty deep in Dewsbury territory, but Rowan Milnes threw his pass into touch on just the second tackle. But an error from Daniel Igbinedion on half-way handed another opportunity to Bradford and this time they capitalised when Dalton Grant strolled over on the overlap.
Lilley missed the conversion attempt so the Rams preserved a two-point lead, both sides enjoyed attacking chances in the minutes that followed thanks to a quick ruck speed, but neither team was able to add to their tally.
Mikey Wood was sin-binned for a spear tackle five minutes before half-time but the visitors were unable to capitalise and it was the hosts that looked more likely to score as the interval approached.
A flowing right-to-left move opened a gap for Dale Morton, but play was brought back for a forward pass, and the Bulls hit the front on the back of the scrum. The ball was moved right and Grant stepped inside Morton to crash over in the corner. Lilley’s kick drifted wide but Bradford led 8-6 as the teams headed into the tunnel for half-time.
The Rams conceded a penalty for a high tackle early in the second half and the hosts took full advantage.
Milnes showed the ball left before stepping inside and reaching out to dot down. Elliot Minchella’s goal made it 14-6. The Rams responded well and Callum Field was held up over the line, but the wrong option was taken on the last tackle and the visitors were unable to narrow the deficit.
David Foggin-Johnston thought he was over for Bradford when he leapt acrobatically in the left corner, but he was adjudged to have a foot in touch. Dewsbury struggled to build momentum as the game approached the hour and the Bulls sensed an opportunity to stretch their advantage.
Liam Finn’s kick on the last tackle forced a knock-on close to the Bradford line on the hour mark, but Day knocked on as he attempted to ground from dummy half. The Rams increasingly chanced their arm in attack, but they were unable to make their offloads stick. Instead, the Bulls struck a killer blow 15 minutes from full-time when Minchella had enough momentum to carry the ball over the line.
The Bulls loose forward converted his own try to make it 20-6 and though Dewsbury had chances shortly after, they weren’t alert enough to punish their opponents. The Rams did score a great try with seven minutes remaining when Ryder’s offload sent Morton clear.
The winger found Luke Hooley in support, who raced the remaining 30 metres, Finn’s excellent touchline goal made it 20-12, but time was against Lee Greenwood’s side, and though they probed in the final stages, a second away win on the bounce eluded Dewsbury.