Batley Bulldogs - Featherstone Rovers: Rivals eager to lay down benchmark for next year

John Kear

John Kear

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THEY ALREADY know they will be playing in the Kingstone Press Championship again next year, but both Batley Bulldogs and Featherstone Rovers have targeted tomorrow’s showdown at Mount Pleasant (3pm) as “big opportunity”.

The two part-time teams are yet to get off the mark in the First Utility Qualifiers and the round-four clash is likely to be a play-off for seventh spot on the final table.

“It is a big opportunity for us and for Featherstone as well,” said Bulldogs coach John Kear. “They will be targeting this as the game they are most likely to win and we will be doing similar.”

That was echoed by Rovers boss Jon Sharp. He said: “Nobody wants to go through the middle-eights without winning a game.

“Both clubs will see it as an opportunity and probably both targeted it when the fixtures came out.”

Batley have conceded more than 50 points in each of their three Qualifiers so far, all against Super League opposition, but outscored Huddersfield 26-10 in the second half last time out.

Kear is looking for his side to carry on from where they left off and he added: “We played pretty well in the final 40.

“It was pleasing to see us represent ourselves properly in that second half, because in the previous two and a half games we let ourselves down.

“It [the Qualifiers] is a step up in intensity. The Super League teams are playing for their jobs and Leigh and London are playing for promotion.

“Hopefully the players will be better for it individually and Batley as a club will be better if they make the middle-eights next year.”

Rovers will be buoyed by their performance against Leigh Centurions two weeks ago and the 34-6 win at Mount Pleasant in July.

“We laid a benchmark with the performance against Leigh,” Sharp said.

“I thought we were unlucky not to get something out of it. We have got to take the same attitude and resolve into this game.

“It is going to be tight and Batley is a tough place to go and win. Not many teams have done that this year, but fortunately we have.

“We will be going there with confidence, but we know we have to be at our best to beat them.”

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