Batley Bulldogs narrowly overcame local rivals Dewsbury Rams in the traditional Heavy Woollen Boxing Day match on a glorious afternoon in front of a packed and vocal Tetley’s Stadium crowd.
Tempers threatened to boil over on numerous occasions as both teams were fired up for the festive derby clash as Luke Blake came back to haunt his former club Dewsbury with the winning try late on for his new club Batley.
Chances were limited in the first half despite two 40/20’s from Batley’s Scott Leatherbarrow which produced no points.
Despite this Batley did eventually break the deadlock and take a slender 4-0 lead into half-time courtesy of Jake Connor’s try two minutes before the break, as Leatherbarrow provided the assist via a towering kick which the Rams failed to deal with and Connor pounced for the try. Dale Morton levelled the scores early in the second half as Louis Sheriff’s superb pass sent Morton in for a try.
The Rams built pressure and looked likely to snatch the win forcing Batley back to defend which they did valiantly.
It was the visiting Bulldogs who were then left celebrating though as hooker Blake scooted from dummy half and crashed over six minutes from time as Lee Paterson’s goal ensured a 10-4 victory for Batley.
DEWSBURY RAMS: Sheriff, Morton, Hale, Beckett, Scott, Hemingway, Thackeray, Nash, Godwin, Hepworth, Spicer, Tonks, Brown. Subs: Wright, Gallagher, Haggerty, Lillycrop, Farrell, Robinson, Hyde.
BATLEY BULLDOGS: Connor, Finigan, Bretherton, Paterson, Blackmore, Leak, Leatherbarrow, Smith, Blake, Brennan, Chandler, Aspinall, Leary. Subs: Campbell, Johnson, Mason, Rowe, Gledhill, Black, Nicholson.
Referee: Dave Merrick (RFL).