Saturday, 17 February 2018

Monday's Coming: Dewsbury Rams

For the third time of asking, Hornets endeavour to get this wretched 2018 season underway - on a somewhat unusual Monday night: again at the behest of the football club, whose game against Spurs has been selected by the BBC to entertain the nation on Sunday afternoon (sadly it clashes with The Spongebob Movie, so we’ll miss it).

And, yet again, the only story in town has been the state of the Spotland pitch.

After suggesting that its quicksand consistency constituted a danger (of sinking without trace, we assume), Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino was shamed into an apology on Friday, after our landlords took the bold decision to re-lay the pitch this week. Dale Chairman Chris Dunphy told Press Association Sport: “It's beautiful… it's like a snooker table.”

Less impressed was Dewsbury Rams coach Neil Kelly who said in the Dewsbury Reporter this week:  “I am just disappointed that Tottenham have not agreed to fund our game to play it at Wembley. We can’t be 100 per cent sure that the game will even take place, but we need to prepare for it.”

Dewsbury have begun this season in better shape than last. Two home games have yielded a 20-12 win over Sheffield, and an impressive 0-12 defeat to London Broncos, who are tipped by many to make a charge for the top four this season, and who shoved 50 points through Barrow in Round 1).

The loss of two points to London was probably no great surprise, but the big impact was the loss of
gun half-back Gareth Moore, who was carried from the field with what looked like a heavy knock to the head injury following an off the ball incident . In typical robust fashion, it was put on report.

Moore was hospitalised on Sunday evening and will undergo mandatory concussion tests before a decision will be made on his availability for Monday.

After the game Kelly identified a lack of creativity and nous as key reasons for the defeat. Again, in the Dewsbury Reporter he said:  “We spoke in the changing room about the amount of possession we had in good positions, especially in the second half. It was probably enough to win three or four games…  Last week I commented that we weren’t smart enough, as we were giving away too many penalties, which gave Sheffield the opportunity to come and attack us.”

“Maybe we have neglected that in the last few weeks, and this game against London has shown that just banging your head against a brick wall isn’t good enough. Even though that is sheer, honest effort, we need to have more invention in last third of the field.”

Kelly has brought in nine new players this year to bolster his squad: Harry Woollard, Billy Hayes, Jared Simpson and Matty English from Huddersfield Giants, Kyle Trout from Sheffield, Jordan Crowther from Wakefield Trinity, Sam Day from Fev plus Rob Worrincy and Martin Reilly from Halifax.

They lined up last week as follows: Guzdek; Simpson, Glover, Hallett, Morton; Sykes, Moore; Sheriffe, Ward, Teanby, Crowther, Hayes, Brown. Subs: Speakman, Trout, Walshaw, English.

The Ram’s real threat  comes courtesy of the Paul Sykes/Gareth Moore axis at half back - a lethal combination of experience and innovation that turns a workmanlike side into something greater than the sum of its parts.

Hornets meantime have been battling away on a couple of fronts. On the playing side, we can only imagine the frustration of players and coaching staff as the 2018 train has got underway without them; whilst off the field the club continues to wrestle with a month in which it’s had zero revenue.

Indeed, you may well have seen our ‘online bucket collection’ on Just Giving, through which we hope to raise £5,000 to offset some of those losses. The response from fans across the game has been amazing - taking us almost a quarter of the way to our target, having raised £1165 so far.

As fans/members/owners of our club, all we can do is implore you to help. We will have at least one actual bucket at the game on Monday evening, so please do dig deep and help get Hornets through this horrible period.


Let’s get behind the guys in numbers on Monday night - they’ve been slogging their guts out all winter for this moment, and they deserve our backing. And don’t forget - under 16's go free on Monday night, with a full paying adult.  One more time: Let’s do it folks. See you there.