Batley Bulldogs 16 Dewsbury Rams 10

Despite a late rally, Dewsbury Rams slumped to disappointing defeat away at Batley.

The Bulldogs held a three-score lead as the game approached the final 20 minutes.

The visitors posted tries through Lucas Walshaw and Dale Morton in the closing stages, but couldn’t muster a crucial third score to earn a share of the spoil.s

Playing up the slope in the first half, the Rams made an error in their first set and handed Batley an opportunity to attack. The visitors defended their line, but a knock on two tackles later handed possession back to the Bulldogs.

More determined defence forced a knock-on out of Paul Brearley as he drove for the line and this time Dewsbury completed. The Rams continued to make errors, meaning they spent much of the opening ten minutes defending.

The Bulldogs took the lead in the 13th minute when Louis Jouffret’s ball sent Wayne Reittie over in the corner. Dominic Brambani added a superb touchline conversion to give Batley a six-point lead. The Bulldogs came close to adding a second when Sam Smeaton broke down the right flank, but his pass inside to Danny Yates was spilled as Rob Worrincy chased back.

Minutes later, Paul Sykes’ bomb forced Batley to drop-out, but the Rams couldn’t find a killer play to unlock the home defence. Further handling errors prevented the visitors from building any attacking momentum during the first 20 minutes.

Back-to-back penalties handed the visitors their best chance to score, but they over-cooked a move right on the third tackle and possession was spilled. The Bulldogs threatened further points following a Brambani 40/20 but they too were wasteful in possession.

The two teams traded more handling errors in the minutes that followed and it was the hosts that appeared most likely to score next.

Momentum was handed back to Dewsbury following consecutive penalties, and then a yellow card for Batley’s Dane Manning for a spear tackle put the visitors on top. The Rams were unable to take advantage though and they ended the half six adrift.

Playing down the slope, the visitors started the second half on the front foot and dominated territory, but an off-the-cuff play from Brambani released Lewis Galbraith who went close for Batley.

The Rams re-grouped and continued to apply pressure in defence and forced the Bulldogs to kick from deep.

But Sykes’ dummy and break was pulled back for crossing, which allowed the home side some respite. Brambani forced a drop-out moments later and on the fourth tackle the ball was worked right for Smeaton to charge over.

Brambani’s conversion attempt drifted in front of the posts, making it 10-0 with just under half an hour to play. Dewsbury’s attack remained disjointed throughout the third quarter of the game, with few scoring platforms laid.

Batley grew into the contest as the second half progressed and Reittie was in for his second try, and the Bulldogs’ third, when play was again worked right.

Brambani missed the conversion, leaving Dewsbury with 14 points to claw back in the final 20 minutes. Sykes’ short kick-off forced an error and the Rams had the chance to respond, and this time the visitors made the play stick.

Sykes’ ball out the back found Walshaw in acres of space and with an easy run over the line. The conversion was missed but the deficit was down to 10 and the Rams were in for a second try with 70 on the clock.

Liam Finn weighted his cross-field kick perfectly for Morton to claim and crash over. Finn assumed kicking duties and made no mistake to make it 14-10 and the visitors continued to apply pressure.

But Joe Martin was sin-binned for retaliating after a knock-on and then Finn was also shown a yellow card for dissent.

Brambani opted to take the two points from the latter penalty and made it 16-10 to the hosts with three minutes remaining.

And though the visitors pushed desperately in the dying minutes, they were unable to carve out a leveling score.

Batley: Louis Jouffret, Wayne Reittie, Sam Smeaton, Lewis Galbraith, Jack Broadbent, Danny Yates, Dom Brambani, Adam Gledhill, Alistair Leak, Tyler Dickinson, Jack Downs, Dane Manning, Paul Brearley.

Interchanges: Alex Bretherton, Toby Everett, Sam Wood, James Brown.

Dewsbury: Joe Martin, Rob Worrincy, Dale Morton, Adam Ryder, Andy Garbiel, Paul Sykes, Liam Finn, Frazer Morris, Sam Day, Martyn Reilly, Lucas Walshaw, Michael Knowles, Daniel Igbinedion.

Interchanges: Owen Trout, Nyle Flynn, Jode Sheriffe, Tom Garratt.

Half-time: 6-0

Attendance: 1,619