DEWSBURY Rams secured a thoroughly-deserved 23-10 pre-season home triumph over Halifax in a contest that proved both sides are shaping up well for the start of the Co-operative Championship season.
While the virtually full-strength hosts played with obvious hunger and desire, there was also a sense that under-strength Halifax were competing well within themselves.
With at least half-a-dozen senior players sitting this one out, including the likes of big-name signing Scott Murrell, former Giants prop Tony Tonks and flying winger Rob Worrincy, Fax were always going to be behind the eight ball.
As a result, they spent much of the time on the back foot and never really threatened a Dewsbury side who are coming together well under new coach Glenn Morrison.
No doubt Halifax head coach Karl Harrison will have all his ‘big guns’ firing for their final warm-up game at home to Batley on Sunday, January 20, and there’s also no doubt he’ll be expecting a great deal more from his troops.
There were some highly notable displays against the Rams, with prop Luke Ambler and back-row duo Dane Manning and Ross Divorty catching the eye.
But with influential Fax half-backs Paul Handforth and Anthony Thackeray subdued by an eager Dewsbury defence, it was always an uphill battle.
From the moment Ryan
Hepworth for the opening try after an incredible scrappy opening quarter, there was only going to be one winner.
Hepworth’s score was one of three close-range tries from the home side, which is something that will have failed to impress the demanding visitors’ chief!
Jy-Mel Coleman followed up with try No2 five minutes later to give Scott Spaven the first of his three conversions.
And even though Ste Tyrer showed great strength to barge through a gang of tacklers close to the line to open the Halifax scoring on the half hour, Dewsbury were in command at the break as they added a third through Elliott Cosgrove to make it 16-4.
Within three minutes of the restart, Matty Tebb added another soft close-range effort before Spaven’s 64th-minute drop goal rubbed more salt into the visitors’ wounds.
Ben Heaton marked a highly eventful second half by scoring a last-minute consolation try – goaled by Tyrer – after being sin-binned for preventing Dewsbury taking a quick re-start in the 57th minute.
But that failed to disguises the fact that on the day Halifax were clearly second best.
Dewsbury Rams: Craven; Morton, Hale, Cosgrove, Beckett; Brown, Spaven; Aizue, Wright, Spiers, Spicer, Hepworth, Tonks. Subs: Tebb, Schofield, Coleman, Scott, Akaidere, Gallagher, Lillycrop.
Halifax: Fieldhouse; Sherriffe, Tyrer, Heaton, Paterson; Handforth, Thackeray; Ambler, C Ashall, Davies, Manning, Divorty, Robinson. Subs: K Ashall, Bracek, Barlow, Casey, Wood, Walker, Holden.
Referee: Ronnie Laughton.