Dewsbury Rams 12 Halifax Panthers 38: Fax up to fourth in Betfred Championship

Halifax Panthers backed up their heroic performance at Cumbria with a comfortable victory in Dewsbury as they moved up to fourth in the Championship.
Louis Jouffret was the last of the seven try scorers as Halifax Panthers triumphed 38-12 at Dewsbury Rams. Picture: Paul Currie/ Jouffret was the last of the seven try scorers as Halifax Panthers triumphed 38-12 at Dewsbury Rams. Picture: Paul Currie/
Louis Jouffret was the last of the seven try scorers as Halifax Panthers triumphed 38-12 at Dewsbury Rams. Picture: Paul Currie/

The visitors weren’t at their ruthless best, yet they scored seven tries through seven different players to seal the 38-12 win – their third-consecutive away success.

With Batley Bulldogs and York City Knights both dropping points, the play-off fight has become nail-bitingly close as just two points separate all three sides.

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There was pre-match drama at Tetley’s Stadium in Dewsbury as both teams were forced to make last-minute changes.

James Woodburn-Hall pulled up in the warm-up and had to be replaced in the squad by Brandon Moore, with Joe Martin moving into full-back. The Rams, on other hand, brought in Jimmy Beckett for Jack Blagbrough who suffered a biceps problem.

These changes didn’t appear to impact the Panthers who arrived with plenty of confidence following their 11-man triumph over Barrow six days prior.

Simon Grix’s men opened the scoring after just five minutes as they capitalised on an early penalty. Keyes put the Rams’ defence on the back foot with a solid run, before Jouffret unleashed Matty Gee with a quick pass to see the second-rower over the line.

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Dewsbury faced back-to-back whitewashes in their two previous meetings with the Panthers but, with a new coaching set-up in place – made up of former Fax assistant Liam Finn and former Super League winner Tony Smith – the hosts were determined to turn the tables.

With 10 minutes on the clock, the Rams hit back as Paul Sykes released Calum Turner down the left, who proceeded to speed past Ben Tibbs and crash over the tryline.

Fax regained their advantage moments later as Lachlan Walmsley took full advantage of a perfectly-weighted kick from Keyes. The winger scooped the loose ball and banked his 15 th Championship try of the season.

After a scrappy period in the contest, Halifax further extended their lead as Joe Arundel capitalised on a sensational off-load from Walmsley to score on the 30-minute mark.

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In the second half, the match was far more one-sided as Halifax found another gear and surged ahead on the scoreboard.

Just five minutes after the restart, Walmsley was once again the provider as he broke down the left wing before unleashing Joe Martin over the line.

Moments later, it was Ben Tibbs and Ben Kavanagh who stamped their names onto scoresheet as Halifax moved 32-6 ahead.

Things went from bad to worse for Dewsbury who lost Dom Speakman to the sin-bin after taking out a Halifax man off the ball. The Rams were immediately punished as Louis Jouffret found the whitewash from dummy-half.

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The hosts had the last say as Oli Greensmith scored in the closing stages, though it was the Panthers who celebrated their 11 th win in 12 games.

Next up for Simon Grix’s side is a mouth-watering home encounter against play-off chasing York City Knights. The two Championship titans will collide on Monday night.

Dewsbury Rams: Calum Turner, Ben Blackmore, Davey Dixon, Oli Greensmith, Andy Gabriel, Paul Sykes, Bayley Gill, Jimmy Beckett, Reiss Butterworth, Jon-Luke Kirby, Brad Graham, Michael Knowles, Ben Mathiou. Subs: Dom Speakman, Harry Kidd, Robson Stevens, Jackson Walker.

Halifax Panthers: Joe Martin, Zack McComb, Ben Tibbs, Joe Arundel, Lachlan Walmsley, Louis Jouffret, Joe Keyes, Dan Murray, Kyle Wood, Will Calcott, Matty Gee, Ben Kavanagh, Jacob Fairbank. Subs: Brandon Moore, Kevin Larroyer, Ed Barber, Adam Tangata.

Dewsbury Tries: Turner (10), Greensmith (70).

Dewsbury Goals: Sykes 2/2.

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Halifax Tries: Gee (5), Walmsley (14), Arundel (27), Martin (45), Tibbs (50), Kavanagh (55), Jouffret (61).

Halifax Goals: Keyes 5/7.

Match Official: James Vella.

Half-time: Dewsbury 6-16 Halifax.

Attendance: 1,106.

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