Batley Bulldogs retained the Roy Powell Trophy as they overcame neighbours Dewsbury Rams in the traditional Boxing Day fixture at Fox’s Biscuits Stadium.
Both clubs paid tribute to former Leeds, Bradford and Batley forward Powell exactly 20 years after his sudden death aged just 33.
It was a new-look Rams side who took to the field and they will have pleased new coach Lee Greenwood with the effort shown, especially in the second half. The Rams battled back from a 10-0 interval deficit and threatened to snatch a draw after Sam Day’s late try, but the Bulldogs held on for victory.
Batley made the perfect start, playing up the slope and led after just three minutes.
Dane Manning spun away from a tackle and offloaded the ball and play was shifted to Dominic Brambani, who broke through and sent full-back Dave Scott racing over at the side of the posts, with Scott also tagging on the goal.
Dewsbury had a spell of pressure as they forced Batley to drop out but the attack came to nothing when a second kick to the in-goal rolled dead.
Batley mounted a swift counter attack upfield when Johnny Campbell broke from the tap. Batley won a penalty and moved play swiftly left when Louis Jouffret produced a lovely cut out pass to put Campbell in at the corner.
Scott was unable to convert but Batley led 10-0 at half-time with the advantage of playing down the slope to come.
Dewsbury made a bright start to the second half and Robbie Ward looked to have pulled a try back when he was held up over the line after going alone from a tap penalty.
Dewsbury did eventually cross for a 52nd-minute try when Paul Sykes offloaded for Lucas Walshaw to crash over but Sykes was unable to convert. Batley extended their lead as Manning was held up over the line following a powerful drive but from the next play, Michael Ward crashed over and Scott converted for a 16-4 lead.
Day pulled a try back and Sykes gave the Rams hope when he converted. There was late drama when Adam Ryder went for the line but Sam Smeaton made a dramatic last ditch tackle and the Rams centre was penalised for a double movement as Batley held on for victory,