GLENN MORRISON orchestrated Dewsbury Rams’ biggest victory of the season as the Australian’s side held off a late fightback from holders Halifax to book their place in the Northern Rail Cup quarter-finals.
Nothing separated the two sides at half time, but a strong start to the second period left Karl Harrison’s Halifax stunned.
Ryan Hepworth opened the scoring on 11 minutes and Bobbie Goulding was on target, adding the vital extras for 6-0.
Loanee Adam O’Brien and New Zealand centre Brad Watkinson had efforts ruled out by the video referee in the minutes that followed.
And Halifax responded, on the stroke of the interval, as Callum Casey weaved beyond two would-be tacklers to touch down.
A Watkinson knock-on allowed Halifax star Paul Handforth to pounce shortly after the resumption, Steve Tyrer adding his second conversion of the evening to make it 12-6.
But Morrison’s Rams were in no mood to lie down.
And back-to-back tries from Scott Hale and Tommy Gallagher turned the tie upside down.
Goulding made up for a missed conversion, hammering over successive penalties from far out, stretching Dewsbury’s advantage to 20-12 – with less than 15 minutes remaining.
Halifax winger Wayne Reittie made for a tense finish as he crossed in the corner during the dying embers, Tyrer again improving, leaving the scores at 20-18 and the game on a knife-edge.
But it was the home side celebrating as time ran out at the Tetley’s Stadium, Halifax bowing out in disgust.
Dewsbury Rams: Pryce, Morton, Hale, Watkinson, Scott, Hyde, Goulding, Nash, O’Brien, Hepworth, Olbison, Walshaw, Brown. Substitutes: Aizue, Wright, Gallagher, Cosgrove.
Halifax: Fieldhouse, Worrincy, Tyrer, Heaton, Reittie, Handforth, Thackeray, Tonks, Ashall, Ambler, Manning, Divorty, Bracek. Substitutes: Paterson, Ashall, Barlow, Casey.
Referee: G Stokes (RFL).
Widnes have given captain Jon Clarke a new contract for 2014.
The 34-year-old hooker is in his 17th season of Super League, having begun his career with Wigan in 1997, and also had spells with London and Warrington.