Two Championship sides were drawn together in the third round of the Betfred Challenge Cup as newly promoted Dewsbury Rams welcomed the ambitious York RLFC Knights to New Crown Flatt, more recently monikered the FLAIR Stadium for a Sunday afternoon showdown.
The visitors were massive favourites with the bookmakers having been given an eighteen-point handicap on the coupon as most pundits believed that Andrew Henderson´s side would have too much quality.
A home game against the Sheffield Eagles awaited the victor in round four.
The Rams had good early possession as they looked to take an early lead against the favourites, but some terrible final ball plays ensured that the Knights kept their line intact.
It took sixteen minutes for the first real foray by York deep into the Dewsbury half and after being awarded back-to-back penalties they called for the kicking tee with Taylor Pemberton smashing the ball between the uprights for a 2-0 lead.
Dewsbury responded with their own penalty goal from Carl Turner on twenty-three, the two sides tightly locked together but the home side with the lion share of the ball and field position.
The York whitewash was finally broken on twenty-five when Perry Whiteley took a Bailey O’Connor pass to dive in at the left corner, unopposed by the York defence who failed to slide. Turner was unable to add the extras, but the Rams were in the lead for the first time.
Interference at the play the ball gifted the Rams, and Turner, another two points to extend the lead at the interval to a converted try. The Rams had upset the pundits with their opening forty minutes, much to the delight of their supporters.
York were held up over the line on forty-five as Josh Daley tried to force the ball to the ground.
Last ditch defence from Dewsbury repeatedly thwarted the York attack as the visitors started to dominate. The dam finally broke on sixty-two after good work from Ukuma Ta’ai gained ground before Nikau Williams found Oli Field to crash over from five metres for the first York try of the afternoon. Pemberton added the conversion, and the sides were locked together again with sixteen minutes remaining.
With two minutes remaining, York snatched the win thanks to a Williams one-two with Field, the New Zealander taking the pass to score under the sticks. Pemberton added the goal for 14-8 to edge his side into the fourth round after a titanic battle against a plucky and determined Dewsbury.
An incredible defensive effort from the home side kept them in a competitive game until the dying seconds when the favourites managed to grab the winning try with the final hooter warming up. York dominated the second half in terms of possession and position but couldn’t find a way to make their superiority count on the scoreboard. York are now at home against Sheffield Eagles in the fourth round in a few weeks’ time.
Dewsbury Rams: O’Connor, Whiteley (T), Greensmith, Walker, Carr, Hookem, Turner (2G), Beckett, Davies, Walker, Graham, Dawson, Collinson. Subs: Field, Hird, Dixon, Russell. 18th Man: Lawrence.
York RLFC Knights: Donaghy, Ward, Bailey, Harrison, Coggle, Pemberton (3G), Williams (T), Ta’ai, Jubb, Teanby, Field (T), Reynolds, Thompson. Subs: Fitzsimmons, Santi, Daley, Price. 18th Man: Brown.
Score Progression: 0-2, 2-2, 6-2, 8-2 : HT: 8-6, 8-8, 8-12, 8-14 :FT.
Lead Exchanges: York – Square – Dewsbury – Square - York.
Referee: Mike Smaill.