EMBARRASSING yet inspired, awful yet brilliant, it is hard to know what to make of Batley Bulldogs’ latest Qualifiers offering.
Their coach John Kear suffered similar mixed emotions following his side’s 58-28 defeat to Huddersfield Giants. The Championship side looked on course for one of the biggest defeats in their 136-year history having fallen 48-2 behind by half-time against Super League opponents.
For all the part-timers still had to go down the famous Mount Pleasant slope in the second period, most people expected them to be utterley vanquished by the visitors who are fighting for top-flight survival. However, instead, Batley managed to transform their own game and actually came out on top of that second 40 minutes scoring five tries to two.
Impressive full-back Dave Scott and centre Shaun Squires each notched two each and Chris Ulugia also crossed, Dom Brambani adding three conversions to the third-minute penalty that had, ever so briefly, given his side the lead.
“I was really upset by that first-half performance because we just weren’t there physically or mentally,” said Kear, Aussie Tom Symonds (2), Ryan Brierley (2), England centre Leroy Cudjoe, Gene Ormsby, Eorl Crabtree, and Joe Wardle all benefitting with tries from Batley’s generosity.
“Obviously when they pulled themselves around at half-time, in the second half we played some very good football.
Batley Bulldogs: Scott; Reittie, Squires, Ulugia, Brown; Walker, Brambani; Hirst, Leak, Rowe, Day, Bretherton, Brown. Substitutes: Davey, Lillycrop, Gledhill, Harrison.
Huddersfield Giants: Connor; Ormsby, Cudjoe, Wardle, Murphy; Brierley, Ellis; Crabtree, Hinchcliffe, Huby, Symonds, Lawrence, Ta’ai. Substitutes: Wood, Roberts, Ikahihifo, Rapira.
Referee: James Child (Dewsbury).