Dewsbury Rams head coach Lee Greenwood admits that he told his players before the game against Whitehaven that a win in Cumbria would be the biggest of the season.
The Rams were victorious on the night, winning 22-16 in what were horrendous conditions.
On the victory Greenwood said: “I told the players before the game that this would be the biggest win of the season so far. Halifax away was big, as was Widnes at home.
“However to come all the way up here on a Wednesday night in these conditions and taking a day or half a day off work, then knowing we wouldn’t get back until the early hours and still get up for work the next day, and with the changes to the side and debutants this would be the best win of the season.
“It was an an absolute slug fest but that was what it was always going to be. There was no chance of it being called off.
“The pitch didn’t look too bad at the start but as soon as you stepped on it you knew it wasn’t good. There was a torrential down poor after ten minutes. The players got that muddy you couldn’t tell who was on each team. Both sets of players were doing really well not to drop the ball more. Unless you have played in that before it’s hard to understand how hard it is to stand up and play that ball properly without dropping it.
“We did really well first half and didn’t make many mistakes at all. We will have to have a look at the tries again. One of them involved Adam Ryder who was injured. We should have really got him off sooner but we wanted to see if he could manage to half time, so that is my fault to be fair.
“I thought we were good value for a lead at half time but went in level. We then took the lead just after the break. We started really fast but then it turned into constantly defending on our own line for 20 minutes.
“Whitehaven then took the lead and we were on the back foot. However we have spoken quite a lot about character and there is some to this team now. They didn’t crumble and kept the score close and then did what we needed to do and got the win.
“Over the course of the 80 minutes we probably shaded it. There were a couple of lads making their debut and a couple making their first starts. Quite a few changes in there with injuries so it chopped and changed but they were brilliant. It’s a brilliant win and takes us in to another game on Sunday.”
On that defensive display to keep the Cumbrian side out, Greenwood explained how pleased he was to see the team response after an unfortunate mistake was made.
He commented: “What I liked was when someone made an error no one got their backs up and the heads didn’t go down they just got back up and on with it.
“Two of the lads who made errors in that 20 minute spell were actually the two who drove us forward and played a big part in putting us back in the lead. Two massive carries from Tommy )Brierley) and Davey (Dixon) put us in a good position for us to take the lead.
“There is a really good feeling about the group. No one blames others when we concede a try or someone makes a mistake. Everyone just mucked in for eachother. Do you know what? I would have said exactly the same even if we had lost it. We left a few players out from Sunday which gave others an opportunity and they have done themselves plenty of favours.”
Now that the Rams have progressed through to the fifth round of the Challenge Cup. A difficult game up at Newcastle will take place on Sunday.
Greenwood said on the upcoming fixture: “We’ll have another look for this Sunday to see who is fresh and fit enough to play up at Newcastle.
“When you are winning you want the next game to come quickly and that’s what the lads are like. The lads who missed out playing here were actually disappointed, and they are now looking to get back in on Sunday.
“So we’ll have to juggle things around as we didn’t know if we would have three games in a week. It takes a bit of management as we haven’t got the biggest squad. We’ll bring some fresh bodies in and we know it’s going to be hard going there, we know it isn’t going to be muddy. Your shirt will be the same colour to when the game started.
“It’s a faster track up there which we haven’t played on this year. It’s a different test for us because all our games have been on mud, so it will be interesting to see how we go.”
On the injury to Adam Ryder, Greenwood said: “He’s had a bit of trouble there, he tried to run it off. Like I say it was probably my fault for not getting him off sooner. He might not be fit for Sunday but hopefully it’s not too serious that it keeps him out for too much longer, we’ll see how he is Friday.”