TABLE-TOPPING Dewsbury Rams were given an almighty scare by York Wasps who threatened to pull off one of the biggest shocks of the season yesterday.

York produced some of their best football of the season in the first 40 minutes, leading 10-0 early on and still hanging on 17-16 at half-time.

But their exertions took their toll as Dewsbury turned on the style in the second half to run in seven tries without reply.

Even more galling for York was that six of Dewsbury's ten tries came from their York connections.

Former Wasps Damian Ball and Alex Godfrey both bagged a brace, as did ex-Heworth centre Dan Potter who still lives in the city.

Substitute Mark Cain also made a big impression just two weeks after joining Dewsbury from the Wasps. But even they would have to admit the final score was somewhat flattering.

While the size of the defeat was similar to York's 56-12 beating by Featherstone last week, there couldn't have been a bigger contrast in the Wasps' performances.

Shell-shocked Dewsbury didn't know what had hit them in the opening 10 minutes. By that point they had barely touched the ball while York had raced into a well deserved 10-0 lead.

The writing looked to be on the wall for Dewsbury when Nathan Graham dropped the kick-off behind his own line to gift York possession.

It was possession which they were not to waste as Gareth Lloyd held off the challenge of the Dewsbury defence and threw a one handed pass inside to Spencer Hargrave who angled away to the corner.

The second try soon followed. Darren Callaghan couldn't regather his own chip but neither could Graham and the ball was gratefully picked up by Andy Hill to scoot under the posts.

Callaghan's conversion put York 10-0 up and had the fans wondering if they were suffering from sunstroke-induced hallucinations.

That opening period was completely error free from York as they starved Dewsbury of the ball, their only chance thwarted by full-back Simon Irving's last-gasp tackle on Godfrey.

It was proving to be a terrific game of free-flowing rugby with no scrums or penalties until the 15th minute.

It was soon after that Dewsbury began their revival, inspired by outstanding loose forward Ball.

He broke through from 40 metres for a fine solo try and followed it up with a second five minutes later, running onto Richard Agar's pass at speed.

Barry Eaton's two conversions edged the Rams 12-10 ahead as the tide began to turn. It got worse for the Wasps when Michael Smith was sin-binned just four minutes after coming on for a professional foul. In one of the most unlikely sights of the day, the big forward was the only player who could keep up when Godfrey split the defence and he pulled off a try-saving tackle, only to be shown the yellow card for not letting Godfrey play the ball quickly.

That should have been the catalyst for Dewsbury to take control but instead it was the 12 men of York who were the next to score. Lloyd intercepted a loose Dewsbury pass in the Rams 20 metre zone and showed real power to force his way over with Godfrey hanging off his back.

Callaghan extended the lead with a superb conversion and a drop goal five minutes before the interval.

But right on the stroke of half-time second rower Andrew Spink gave Dewsbury a timely boost when he made the most of an overlap to stroll over.

It meant the Wasps led by just one point which proved not to be anywhere near enough as they wilted in the soaring temperatures.

The first try of the second half was always likely to prove crucial and unfortunately it went Dewsbury's way. Centre David Wood was released by Eaton on the halfway line before finding Godfrey who had far too much pace for any of the cover.

Wasted chances followed for Dewsbury, Wood knocking on over the line and earning a spell in the sinbin for his comments to referee Colin Morris, then Ryan McDonald was tackled on his back over the line.

It was a constant stream of Dewsbury pressure and in the end the Wasps defence capitulated.

It was good basic rugby by the Rams, quick hands creating the overlap every time. Potter bagged a couple, Wood finished off an 70 metre break, Spink and Godfrey both went in for their second and Eaton got a try to add to his eight goals.

It prompted jovial scenes among the large travelling support, but perhaps borne as much out of relief as celebration.

PICTURE: RAM RAIDER - York Wasps prop Rich Hayes goes on the rampage against Dewsbury Rams at Huntington Stadium yesterday