Huddersfield hero Lunt denies the Batley Bulldogs a cup shock

Eorl Crabtree, Brett Ferres and Craig Kopczack stop Bulldogs George Flanagan grounding the ball.
Eorl Crabtree, Brett Ferres and Craig Kopczack stop Bulldogs George Flanagan grounding the ball.
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Shaun Lunt scored two tries in two minutes to save Huddersfield from a Tetley’s Challenge Cup embarrassment at Batley.

In-form hooker Lunt, twice a losing cup finalist at Wembley, rescued the Super League side against the part-timers.

The spirited Bulldogs gave Huddersfield a massive fright, just as they did at the same stage of this competition two years ago.

Back then the Super League club were almost toppled at Mount Pleasant – and a major upset was on the cards for almost an hour of this contest.

In 2011 Batley, on their notorious sloping pitch, were 18-10 up midway through the second half and heading for a shock victory until running out of steam.

The Giants escaped with a 28-18 win and current coach Paul Anderson, then assistant to Nathan Brown, thought he was taking no chances this time by fielding a strong side.

But he did not bank on the mighty passion and commitment shown by the Bulldogs, who emerged with huge credit against a team second in Super League.

George Flanagan showed pace and power for the Bulldogs and he and Ash Lindsay got a scent of blood as they pushed towards the Giants tryline.Towards the end of the first half the Giants finally threatened with Danny Brough’s jinking run showing some Super League class at last.

It looked like a certain Giants breakthrough score when Matt Dawson fed Lunt but again the Batley defence held firm as he was pounced on by three or four tacklers.

That gave Batley added confidence and they finished the half with a flourish. The Giants were again powerless and Gareth Moore’s kick into the corner was brilliantly caught by Gareth Potts who gave Batley a shock lead.

Moore could not add the extras however, dragging his conversion well wide.

If the Giants thought it was their turn to dominate with the slope in their favour they were wrong as Batley continued in the same vein in the second period, unsettling the Super League side’s rhythm and continuing to press forward.

Brough, though, gradually started to exert some influence and Lunt’s superb 20-metre burst gave a rare glimpse of the supposed gulf between the two sides.

Brough’s kick across field then looked to have unlocked Batley at last but Jermaine McGillvary dropped the ball and the chance was lost.

Brough again drove the Giants forward but Eorl Crabtree this time was denied close in.

Finally, in the 58th minute, the Bulldogs cracked as Lunt finished off a sweeping move in the right corner, Brough missing the conversion. That put the score level at 4-4 and two minutes later Batley’s previously solid back-line parted again and Lunt got the final touch for his eighth try in seven matches. Brough kicked the conversion and the Giants had some breathing space.

Batley continued to make it tough but a late drop goal and a penalty right on the final hooter from Brough stretched the lead for the mightily relieved Giants.

Batley Bulldogs: Greenwood, G Potts, Walton, Maun, Johnson, Black, Moore, Smith, Flanagan, Rowe, Bretherton, Davies, Lindsey. Subs: Campbell, Hirst, Mennell, L Walmsley.

Huddersfield giants: Murphy, McGillvary, Cudjoe, Wardle, Dawson, Brough, Grix, Crabtree, Lunt, Kopczak, Ferres, Lawrence, Cording. Subs: Faiumu, Patrick, Ta’ai, Johnson.

Referee: Ben Thaler (Wakefield).

attendance: 2,067.

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