Dewsbury Rams Match Report by Joshua Chapman (@Chapalar)
Following a fourth victory in the last five away at Swinton last weekend, Paul March’s Cougar side came into this fixture against the Dewsbury Rams buzzing with confidence.
The Cougars made just the two changes following the victory over the Lions the previous week. James Haley came into the side in the place of Josh Lynam and moved into the centres with his accommodation made available by the movement of Joe Chandler into the second row. The other change saw Ryan Patchett drop out through injury with his place amongst the interchanges taken by Matthew Bailey who made his debut following a leg break in pre-season.
The Cougars couldn’t ask for a worse first half however as the Rams dominated from start to finish. They took control in familiar fashion to Swinton the week before as Karl Pryce broke the deadlock following collecting and scoring beautifully from a chip over top by Jonathan Schofield with Bobbie Goulding Junior failing to add the extras.
The former Bradford Bulls centre then got his and his sides second try off the afternoon as he collected the ball following a wild offload by Sean Hesketh intended for Brendon Rawlins before racing thirty metres to cross the line bang under the sticks with Bobbie Goulding Junior this time adding the extras with ease.
Following a knock on by Brad Watkinson the Cougars got an opportunity to get on the scoreboard but Dewsbury saw off the threat posed by Danny Jones with Gregg Scott being denied a try in the corner down the other end by some scrappy Cougars defending before the Rams found themselves over the line once again.
The try was a controversial one which should not have been awarded, a kick by Jonathan Schofield was knocked on in the air by Gregg Scott before the Rams centre Brad Watkinson rushed in from an offside position to touch down much to the dismay off the majority of the 937 inside Cougar Park before Bobbie Goulding Junior put a fantastic conversion between the posts.
The Cougars hit back immediately though with their first try off the afternoon. Paul March’s outfit made their way down the field following a completed set of six by the Rams before a fantastic offload by Danny Jones allowed Joe Chandler to go over the line with Scott Leatherbarrow adding the extras for the Cougars.
From the restart however, Elliott Cosgrove, turning out against his former club for the first time, knocked the ball on before the Rams attacked the Cougars line again before a Karl Pryce pass allowed Gregg Scott to go over in the corner but the match official ruled the pass out for a forward pass.
The Rams then did extend their lead as Brad Watkinson took the ball and with Scott Law standing in his way opted to offload out to James Craven on the wing before he raced in to score with Bobbie Goulding Junior failing to add the extras from out on the wing.
The referee was then greeted with some ironic applause after he awarded the Cougars their first penalty of the afternoon before Scott Leatherbarrow’s kick proved too strong to Paul White out on the wing and went out into touch.
The Rams then found themselves in for another score as following a Jonathan Schofield 40/20 and Adam O’Brien being held up by the Cougars defence, Schofield kicked once again with James Craven collecting in the air to cross the line once again. Bobbie Goulding Junior added the extras again.
Following a scrum brought on by a wild Daley Williams offload which saw the winger go off with a bloodied nose, the Rams got their final score off the afternoon. A kick in goal by Jonathan Schofield was spilled by Danny Jones allowing Tommy Gallagher to pounce on it to score with the free play with Bobbie Goulding Junior adding the extras to take the game into half time.
The second half was the complete opposite to the first with the Cougars dominating and keeping the Rams pointless. Following an offload by Brad Watkinson, the Cougars attacked the Rams line with Danny Jones linking up beautifully with Craig Moss to send James Haley over the line but Scott Leatherbarrow was unsuccessful with the conversion attempt.
The Cougars defence got tough and kept Dewsbury in their own twenty for most of the opening exchanges off the half including a monster five man tackle which nearly forced Karl Pryce back into touch for a goal line dropout.
Dewsbury were penalised for feeding in the scrum following a fantastic tackle on Paul White before the Cougars pushed forward and allowed the Judge, Scott Law, to fight his way over the line to half the deficit between the sides following an easier conversion attempt for Scott Leatherbarrow.
Craig Moss showed his class with an absolute worldy off an offload to Danny Jones to keep the ball alive and provide the Cougars with another opportunity to score. James Haley stole the ball back and saw off numerous Rams defenders in a fantastic solo effort to cross the line, but unfortunately for the centre, he dislocated his shoulder whilst scoring. Scott Leatherbarrow then added the extras to bring the game back to life.
Things were starting to get tasty after Lucas Walshaw escaped punishment for a ball steal before Joe Chandler made acquaintances with Makali Aizue but Danny Jones kicked a fantastic 40/20 to get the Cougars down the field. The Cougars wasted the chance however as Ben Sagar couldn’t get near Scott Leatherbarrow’s grubber kick.
The Cougars then had numerous chances to get back over the tryline. Paul White was first dragged into touch by three on rushing Rams defenders before after a Ben Sagar take under pressure. Paul March’s side made further metres from a high shot on Scott Law then a Danny Jones kick was panickly pushed out of play by Gregg Scott as Joe Chandler came rushing in.
A high shot on Ben Sagar from the resulting dropout allowed the Cougars another set of six on the Rams line from which they scored to give us a photo finish. Some clever offloading by the Cougars saw Craig Moss offload to Sean Hesketh with the big unit barging his way over the line before Scott Leatherbarrow kicked the two to bring the gap back down to four.
The Cougars had a chance to win with another set of six on the Rams line with the ball flying all around with the likes of Sean Hesketh, Andy Shickell and Elliott Cosgrove all held short off the line before a Scott Leatherbarrow knock on allowed the Rams to escape with the three points from a thrilling afternoon of Rugby League.
Yorkshire Times Cougars Man of the Match – Andy Shickell – The ‘Shicky Monster’ tore through the Rams in the second half with his strength and power runs allowing for the Cougars to make valuable metres and get in through the Rams defensive line to score on the back of his fantastic defensive efforts in the first half to keep the Rams at just 32 points when it looked like they could have put a lot more on the scoreboard.
Cougars: Moss, Williams, Cosgrove, Haley, White, Jones, Leatherbarrow, Shickell, Feather, Hesketh, Pursglove, Chandler, Rawlins. Interchanges: March, Law, Sagar, Bailey.
Rams: Morton, Craven, Pryce, Watkinson, Scott, Schofield, Goulding, Nash, Bentley, Hepworth, Walshaw, Hale, Tonks. Interchanges: Spicer, Gallagher, O’Brien, Aizue.