After a gruelling journey back from Cornwall, the Dewsbury Rams were eager to prove themselves on home turf once again. On Friday evening, they faced a formidable Rochdale Hornets side that had shown significant improvement since the Rams’ previous two victories over them earlier in the season.
The Rams’ starting lineup saw the inclusion of two players making their season debut. Will Maher, brought in on loan from Halifax, and Andy Gabriel, who had been absent from the side due to a lengthy eleven-month injury layoff.
Right from the start, the Rams displayed their determination to make amends for their lacklustre performance in Penryn. They wasted no time breaking through the Hornets’ defence, with Louis Collinson storming through to score his first goal of the season just ten minutes into the game.
Continuing their dominance, Calum Turner made an impressive break through the Hornets’ defence around the twenty-minute mark. He then passed the ball to Owen Restall, who ran in to score his fourteenth goal of the season. Restall came close to replicating his earlier feat with a similar break from Turner just two minutes later, but unfortunately fumbled the ball while attempting to score.
The first half concluded with Paul Sykes securing his first goal of the season, capping off an excellent burst from close range. This final try of the half handed the Rams an eighteen-point lead as the teams retreated to the dressing rooms.
The second half saw the return of Andy Gabriel, who celebrated his comeback with a trademark finish in the corner on his 150th career appearance. Brad Graham followed suit with a stunning aerial manoeuvre, gracefully leaping to catch a precision Sykes cross-field kick and adding another try to the Rams’ tally.
Bailey O’Connor then wrapped up the scoring for the day with a rapid-fire double in the last fifteen minutes of the game. Firstly, O’Connor showcased his agility, navigating through the Hornets’ defence after a series of impressive plays had set up a favourable field position. Shortly after, he capitalised on a superb Rams display to score just right of the posts. Sykes, who had been in excellent form throughout the match, kicked flawlessly and with his try and seven conversions, brought himself within three points of reaching 1,000 points for the Rams.
Following the game, Rams Head Coach Liam Finn commented, “We fell short of our usual standards last week after a week off, so today we challenged ourselves to improve in the effort-based areas, and I believe we succeeded. Defensively, our attitude was exceptional.”
Looking ahead, the Rams will be back at FLAIR Stadium on Friday, June 23rd, for an exciting rematch against the Rochdale Hornets. Kick-off is scheduled for 19:30, promising an enticing showdown between the two teams.