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Kingstone Press Championship Round 23 – Dewsbury Rams v Batley Bulldogs Preview

Both teams will be taking part in the Championship Shield which starts in a fortnight’s time. Dewsbury lost to Leigh Centurions during the week in their game in hand. Batley got the better of Hunslet on home turf in round 22.

Last Time Out

Dewsbury visited the Leigh Sports Village on Wednesday night for a bout with the Centurions. This tie was originally scheduled earlier on in the year but Leigh were on an impressive cup run so it had to be rearranged. The Rams lost out 40-24 in front of 3,244 people, Glenn Morrison’s side put up a great fight with a side that had a few youngsters in the ranks including Brad Delaney and Sam Dunn. Leigh were 12-6 up at the break after tries from Tom Armstrong and Liam Kay, the Rams got on the board through Joel Farrell. After the restart Dewsbury levelled matters via a converted try from Dale Morton but it didn’t take long for Leigh to have their lead back and the impressive Ryan Brierley crossed. Fellow half-back Ben Reynolds extended the hosts’ lead to two scores just before the hour mark. Brierley completed his hat-trick with two tries in as many minutes to open up the final quarter, the lead was insurmountable now but the Rams kept digging for more scores. Ryan Fieldhouse showed his capabilities when he touched down before Sam Hopkins got 40 points up for Leigh with a few minutes remaining. The final try of the match went to Farrell, who capitalised on a Centurions error to full effect.

Batley took one step to safety with a 45-28 win over Hunslet Hawks at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium. It was the visitors who started the scoring for the match on 14 minutes as Callum Casey sauntered over. Alex Brown and Luke Blake both scored a try each to put Batley in front but Jack Lee replied for Hunslet as the match got a bit more lively on the scoreboard. Jimmy Watson kept the scoring going for Hunslet on 30 minutes, the highly rated full-back has been a regular visitor to the try-line this season. However, Batley ended the half on top as the heavy armoury took centre stage. Sean Hesketh and Tom Lillycrop both added to their try tallies to the season in the final five minutes of the first half. Three consecutive tries for Batley in the second half really got their tails up. Brown completed his brace before back-rower Brad Day and centre Shaun Squires added further tries to put Batley 20 points up. Andy Yates notched Hunslet’s first try of the second half on the hour before workhorse loose forward Joe Chandler got a deserved score for the hosts. Hunslet hooker Lee bagged his second try of the match with seven minutes to go but that wasn’t the final scoring act of the day, Scott Leatherbarrow rubbed salt into Hunslet wounds with a drop-goal in the dying embers. A job well done by Batley.

Key Battle

People are always quick to sing the praises of good strike players but the workhorses in the forward pack also deserve immense credit. One of those players deserving of credit is Batley loose forward Joe Chandler. The former Halifax man has recently signed a new contract at the Batley club and he’s a key part to their forward pack. Chandler lined up in the back-row with Sam Scott and Brad Day last weekend, and the latter even got a score to his name too. Dewsbury started Wednesday night’s game at Leigh with Toby Adamson, Luke Adamson and Aaron Brown as their back-row. A very talented trio of players who were backed up by interchange options in the shape of Joel Farrell and Jason Muranka. Although Toby Adamson was taken off during the Leigh match and will be missing for a few weeks to come, it’s not like the Rams are short of good replacements. The Heavy Woollen derby always carries with it a lot of steel, grit and determination and it’s not surprising when you look at the forward packs of both sides.

Prediction

Dewsbury can still finish fifth in the table but they need Featherstone to lose at home to Whitehaven if they’re to stand a chance. A win for Batley would be vital for them, considering Hunslet and Workington are also facing off in this round of matches so one of those sides will slip up. With another Heavy Woollen derby to come this season, it’s fair to say this won’t be the most important of 2015 but bragging rights are there to be won for a few weeks at least – Dewsbury by 14

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