Action pictures can be purchased from photographer Mike McKenzie
April 15 2007
Aaron Smith's cheeky chip over the top in the second minute caused panic in the visitors' defence and forced a Haven scrum for a knock-on. From the scrum John Duffy span a long ball out to the on-rushing Spencer Miller who broke a tackle and touched down. As the crowd went crazy and the celebratory music began to play over the tannoy referee Peter Taberner brought them back for a forward pass.
The decision only served to delay the inevitable, and on five minutes Haven had their try when Derry Eilbeck was first to a kick through from John Duffy. Eilbeck touched down despite the attention of two defenders and Carl Rudd landed the conversion from right out on the touchline. Haven were in control and when Andy Hobson was sent off on 17 minutes for one of the most cowardly assaults this reporter has ever seen on a rugby field it looked like the Rams would be on the receiving end of a real thumping.
Haven were putting pressure of the visitors' line and Rudd shipped the ball to a team-mate. Hobson had moved up to make the tackle on him, and, despite the fact that the ball had gone a clear two or three seconds before, he smashed his left forearm straight into the face of the Haven stand off. Rudd was sent crashing to the canvass and the touch judge was quickly on to tell Mr Taberner what he, and the 2,000 strong crowd, had all seen. Usually such matters end up "on report" these days, but Mr Taberner had the courage to send Hobson straight to the changing rooms for his thuggish act, and he went with little complaint. The incident looked worse each time it was looked at on the TV monitors after the match. Richard Fletcher knocked over the resulting penalty from in front of the posts as Rudd was still receiving treatment from the physio.
With over an hour to play and only 12 men on the field the task looked a daunting one for the Rams, but it was a challenge that they responded to.
Almost immediately they were down the other end of the field and a great break by Chris Hall set up a try for the superb Ian Preece (21). Dean Lawford landed the conversion to bring the visitors back to within two points.
They thought they had scored again six minutes later, but in one of the most bizarre passages of play seen at the Recreation Ground in many a season Danny Maun's effort was chalked off.
Haven were in possession on their own 40 metre line when Scott Teare tried to off-load to an on rushing team-mate. The ball was clearly knocked to the ground by a Dewsbury man, but Mr Taberner waved play on and the Rams went on the attack.
No fewer the four tackles into that attack Lawford fed the ball to Preece, who made good ground before putting Maun in for what seemed the visitors second try.
However, after some consultation between the referee and the touch judge on the other side of the field to where all the action had taken place a scrum was awarded to Haven for the original knock on that everyone had long forgotten about.
That was a big call by Mr Taberner, and once which provoked an angry reaction from Rams' coach Andy Kelly after that game. Within four minutes of that disallowed try Whitehaven were in for their second of the afternoon.
John Duffy made a great break on half-way and shipped the ball out to Craig Calvert as Preece raced towards him. Nobody catches Calvert, and he raced away to score his first try in five games. Rudd's conversion came back of the upright to leave the half-time score 12-6.
Haven came out determined to put the game to bed, but the Rams were in no mood to roll over, and continued with the same hard work and spirit that they had shown in the first period. Whitehaven should have scored on 42 minutes when the moved the ball quickly from right to left. Craig Benson cut in from his wing and gave the ball to Scott Teare, Teare showed great hands for a prop when he span a long pass out to Duffy, who in turn gave a great pass to Aaron Lester.
Lester held onto the ball for too long before feeding Steve Maden, meaning Maden had no time to put Calvert in. But he still almost scored himself, and it took a mighty effort from Bryn Powell and Rob Kelly to deny him.
The Rams themselves had plenty of possession and territory, with Dominic Maloney and David Bates looking particularly strong on the charge.
However they were unable to really create many scoring chances, with the best efforts of Lawford and Josh Weelden fielded well by Gary Broadbent and his wingers, Calvert and Benson.
The decisive try came on 55 minutes and followed a 40-20 from Carl Rudd.
Haven charged the Dewsbury line and were rewarded with a penalty for a high tackle on Steve Trindall. The bench sent on 18th man Ricky Wright with the kicking tee, intent on going for goal, but he was ignored as Haven opted to run it.
They looked like they might have blown the chance until Maden stepped inside the defender and touched down. This time Marc Jackson converted.
They should have scored again from the next attack, as this time Maden was guilty of choosing the wrong option.
Broadbent made the hard yards down the middle before the ball made its way to Maden on the left. Maden had Calvert on his outside screaming for the ball and with no defender in sight and yet he chose to pass it back to Miller on the inside. Miller was tackled almost as he caught the ball and the chance had gone.
Maden made amends though on 63 minutes. The Rams were on the attack deep in Haven territory and a kick from Liam Finn seemed to have Maden stranded and in trouble. However he gave a one handed ball to Calvert and defence was turned into attack in an instant.
Calvert had some 80 metres to go to the line, but pinned back he head and raced away, not even the covering Preece could get anywhere near putting a hand on him as he touched down under the posts for the try of the game, which Jackson converted.
With ten minutes to go Lawford spilled the ball close to his own line and from the next set Duffy scored from close range to further force home Haven's advantage. Jackson was unable to convert.
As the game opened up Bryn Powell made a superb break, cutting in from the wing, but as he looked for support his pass off the ground went straight into the arms of Aaron Smith.
From that possession Haven went the length of the field themselves.
Steve Maden raced away from his own line and with Calvet and Lester in support it was the Kiwi that his pass found.
Lester rolled back the years as he galloped away, ignoring Calvet's chance for a hat-trick, but some show-boating in front of the Kells end from Haven's captain saw him knock the ball on as he grounded it -- with no Rams defender within 30 metres.
As Lester stood with his head in his hands the Rams charged down the other end and grabbed a consolation score. Powell made another good break and although Broadbent brought him down he was unable to complete the tackle, leaving the winger free to get up and pass inside to Weeden for a try with Lawford converted.
Andy Kelly said afterwards: "I am disappointed with Andy Hobson. Last week he went to Halifax, his former club, and didn't give away a single penalty, and this week he comes here and does that, it put us under a lot of pressure and left some inexperienced guys out there on their own.
"The one aspect I was disappointed with today were the officials, to bring that try back at such a crucial stage in the first half was unbelievable. I think even in the Super League where they have the technology they wouldn't be able to bring play back after three or four phases.
"But I am proud of the effort and commitment we showed."
Haven coach Dave Rotheram said: "We had a lot of players who had off days today and we still won, which is the sign of a good team."
GAME BREAKER: The bizzare decision to rule out Danny Maun's try on 27 minutes that would have put the 12 man Rams ahead. Haven scored four minutes later and despite a huge effort the visitors couldn't get back in the game.
Dewsbury: Preece, Powell, Hall, Mann, Epati, Weeden, Lawford, Hobson, Haigh, Maloney, Crowthers, Robinson, Breatherton; Finn,Kelly, Crawley, Bates.
Leigh started with momentum and took an early lead with a Hill try which was converted. Duffy kicked through to give Steve Maden Haven's first try 6-4. Leigh came storming back and went close on several occasions before they scored a converted try through Alstead on 25 minutes to lead 12-4 . But Haven replied and scored with Carl Rudd spotting a gap in the Leigh Defence and sprinting over from 20 yards out. He added the extras and Haven went in at the half 12-10 down .