DEWSBURY RAMS had to dig deep to see off visitors Featherstone Rovers in the first round of the revived Yorkshire Cup.
The pre-season tournament has been arranged to give eight teams some competitive fixtures ahead of their league campaign and the Betfred Championship rivals will have taken positives from a tight contest which could have gone either way.
Rovers, fielding only six members of last year’s squad plus a mixture of signings, trialists and dual-registered players, improved from the 56-0 defeat at Castleford Tigers the previous weekend and were resilient enough to level the scores in the second half after trailing 10-0 early on.
Their main concern was a knee injury to forward James Harrison, a close-season signing from Batley Bulldogs.
Trialist winger Jimmy McDaniel was knocked cold late in the game and will be assessed before Rovers’ next match.
Crucially, Dewsbury came through their first win under new coach Lee Greenwood with no major fitness worries.
They scored four tries to Rovers’ three despite having hooker Robbie Ward sin-binned in the second half. Huddersfield-based forward Jordan Andrade, who played under Greenwood at Gloucestershire All Golds, was among the try scorers and the pick of their new faces.
Dewsbury started well and were two tries ahead after 22 minutes, with Alex Brown and Lucas Walshaw touching down and Paul Sykes adding a conversion.
Leeds Rhinos’ Josh Walters, playing for Rovers on dual-registration, had a strong game and got the visitors off the mark five minutes before the break.
McDaniel went over from the penalty following Ward’s yellow card and former Wakefield and Castleford full-back Jordan Tansey’s touchline conversion levelled the scores.
But Andrade’s try and a second goal from Sykes edged Rams back in front with 21 minutes remaining.
Macauley Hallett, a trialist who played at Dewsbury last year, gave Rovers hope with a 72nd minute touchdown, but Tom Halliday’s late try saw Rams into the semi-finals.
Dewsbury Rams: Thomas, Morton, Leeming, Igbinedion, A Brown, Sykes, S Brown, Harrison, Ward, Nicholson, Walshaw, Knowles, Trout. Substitutes: Halliday, Ray, Halmshaw, Andrade, Mackay, Garratt, Richardson.
Featherstone Rovers: Tansey, McDaniel, Hallett, Walters, Hartley, Richardson, Punchard, Cooper, Maskill, Ormondroyd, Day, Waite-Pullan, Lockwood. Substitutes: Davies, Darley, Harrison, French, Beckett, Hawkins.
Referee: J McMullen (Wigan).