Batley 22 Dewsbury 28: Bulldogs denied derby triumph as Thackeray leads Rams’ revival

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Dewsbury Rams produced a stirring second-half fightback to regain the Heavy Woollen bragging rights with a 28-22 win over Batley Bulldogs at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium, writes Oliver Roby.

In near perfect conditions, Batley took a deserved lead as Shaun Ainscough skipped in.

Despite playing up Mount Pleasant’s infamous slope, the ‘Dogs continued to pile the pressure on Dewsbury’s line. But the visitors’ determination in defence limited John Kear’s men to just one further try in the first 40, Luke Blake stealing in from acting half when the Rams were reduced to 12 men following the sin binning of Joel Farrell.

That margin was halved only minutes later as Shane Grady crashed in following a short ball from Anthony Thackeray. And it was level soon after the interval as Etu Uaisele went in, pouncing on an error from Wayne Reittie after a huge kick by Matty Wildie.

After a stoppage as Johnny Campbell recieved treatment for a suspected broken leg, Batley hit back through Alex Brown who latched onto a kick to score, but Dalton Grant brought the Rams level at 16-16 following a long ball by Wildie. Under pressure, winger Morton nailed the touchline conversion to wrestle back a two-point lead.

But it was Thackeray who would prove to be the gamebreaker, producing an outstanding exhibition of agility to go in from 30 yards. Morton tagged on the extras, this time from in front of the posts, to leave the Rams eight points in front heading into the final quarter.

Sam Scott led the home side’s response, forcing off the attentions of a number of defenders to go in, but the wind was taken firmly out of Batley’s sails as Ainscough dropped the resulting kick off, and Farrell twisted in two plays later to seal the points.

Batley: Campbell; Reittie, Ainscough, Cosgrove, A Brown; Nicholson, Leatherbarrow; Hirst, Blake, Hesketh; Gledhill, Scott, J Brown. Substitutes: Leak, Rowe, Lillycrop, Bretherton.

Dewsbury: Fieldhouse; Morton, Uaisele, Grady, Grant; Wildie, Thackeray; Jackson, Conroy, Hepworth; Spicer, Hale, Adamson. Substitutes: Brown, Farrell, Nash, Smith.

Referee: C Kendall (RFL).