Dewsbury Rams 27-32 Rochdale Hornets
Sunday 6th May 2018, 15:00pm
Championship - Round: 13
Cameron Scott, Aaron Brown, Dom Speakman, Josh Guzdek, Gareth Moore,
James Glover 3,
Tyler Whittaker, Setareki Talatoka 2, Matty Hadden, Declan Kay,
Tyler Whittaker 6,
On Thursday evening at Rochdale Hornets’ last full session before they travelled to Dewsbury Rams, there were almost more players in the gym nursing injuries than out on the field training.
It’s been an incredibly tough period for the squad as they have struggled to get their strongest 17 out on the field due to unfortunate injury woes.
Their efforts weren’t being matched with results in recent weeks, until an incredibly gutsy showing at the Tetley’s Stadium from a side with an average age of 23.
Jonah Cunningham, who had one training session with the club since joining on a month long loan, came into the 17 for his debut. Blake Turner started his first game in the front row, while Billy Brickhill put in another brilliant 80 minute stint - this time at loose forward.
Gary Middlehurst was the only player over 30 in the team, as nine of the side were 21 and under, and his experienced was on show for all to see in the back row.
Tyler Whittaker was once again impressive at halfback, as was Warrington Wolves hooker Morgan Smith.
It would be massively harsh not to praise the whole team, as they all fought for each other until the full-time whistle.
Rochdale started the brighter of the two sides, and had the lead after just eight minutes when Whittaker pounced on a wild Dewsbury pass to race 50 metres to score. He converted his own effort to open up a six-point lead.
There was an immediate response within four minutes, as Cameron Scott benefitted from Gareth Moore’s cut-out ball to race over on the left edge. James Glover was off target with his conversion attempt, meaning the Rams trailed by two.
Hornets’ set finishes needed improvement, as they handed three seven tackle sets to their opponents within the opening quarter.
Thankfully their defence stood tall, and after back-to-back penalties Whittaker drilled a penalty goal through the middle of the posts from 40 metres out to give the visitors a four point cushion.
Eight minutes from the break the home side hit the front for the first time in the contest, as Aaron Brown collected Dom Speakman’s dummy half cut-out pass to touch down next to the sticks. Glover stepped up to make it 10-8.
Seta Tala ensured his side regained the lead and took it into the break though, as he stormed over from close range with a number of defenders on his back. Whittaker’s two pointer took Hornets into the sheds with a 14-10 lead.
It was a disastrous start to the second period, as Speakman edged the home side back in front with a scoot from close range, before Josh Guzdek crossed untouched to give the Rams an eight point lead.
Alan Kilshaw needed a response, and he got one from Tala as he collected his second of the afternoon, crossing off the back of a perfectly delayed pass from Smith.
Matty Hadden then scored for the second time in as many games, planting the ball down over the line despite being held upright, with Whittaker’s goal making it 26-22 to Hornets.
The drama of the final five minutes was almost too much to take, as the Rams thought they had won it thanks to Moore’s individual effort which saw him race in on the left edge. Glover needed the conversion for a two point lead, however the touch judges couldn’t agree on whether it had gone in between the sticks or not.
The referee had the final say as the conversion wasn’t given, leaving the scores tied at 26-26. That was until Moore knocked over a one-pointer just a minute later, sending the home supporters into celebration.
Hornets had to throw everything at their opponents, and after Whittaker’s field goal attempt was charged down, a repeat set ended in Dec Kay dancing through the defence to plant the ball down and spark incredible scenes behind the sticks and in the stands.
Dewsbury’s last roll of the dice saw them spill the short kick off, as Hornets saw out the remainder of the game to cling on to a crucial two points.
The final hooter saw the players and staff of the club applaud the incredible travelling support, for their unwavering faith in recent weeks.
HORNETS: Dec Kay, Richard Lepori, Earl Hurst, Seta Tala, Deon Cross, Tyler Whittaker, Danny Yates, Lewis Hatton, Morgan Smith, Blake Turner, Lee Mitchell, Gary Middlehurst, Billy Brickhill. Interchange: Jonah Cunningham, Matty Hadden, Pat Moran, Alex Gaskell.
Tries: Whittaker (8), Tala (38, 56), Hadden (64), Kay (79) Goals: Whittaker 6/6
RAMS: 1Josh Guzdek, 2 Rob Worrincy, 3 James Glover, 31 Cameron Scott, 5 Dale Morton, 12 Michael Knowles, 7 Gareth Moore, 17 Toby Everett, 9 Robbie Ward, 10 Jack Teanby, 20 Jordan Crowther, 11 Rob Spicer, 13 Aaron Brown. Interchange: 8 Jode Sheriffe, 14 Dom Speakman,27 James Goodall, 28 Kyle Trout.
Tries: Scott (12), Brown (32), Speakman (44), Guzdek (49), Moore (74) Goals: Glover 3/5 Field Goal: Moore (76)