Halifax RLFC 20 Batley Bulldogs 18: Bulldogs battle back in vain as they suffer narrow defeat at Halifax

Batley Bulldogs are still searching for their first win of the season after suffering a heartbreaking defeat at Halifax.

Sunday, 17th February 2019, 3:40 pm
Updated Sunday, 17th February 2019, 3:57 pm
Jack Downs second-half try pulled Batley back into contention. PIC: Paul Butterfield.

Matt Diskin's side conceded 18 points without reply in the first half but came roaring back in the second 40 to put Halifax under some real pressure.

They kept Halifax try-less during an impressive second-half display but were eventually beaten by two points.

A Steve Tyrer penalty just under 10 minutes from time settled matters in what proved an enthralling tussle.

James Saltonstall scored for the fifth game running against Batley Bulldogs. PIC: Paul Butterfield.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Batley struggled to gain good territory in the opening quarter as they spent little time inside the Halifax half.

Halifax were much more clinical, scoring twice in the opening 12 minutes to establish their dominance on the clash.

James Saltonstall scored on his 100th career appearance after he beat Dave Scott to Kevin Larroyer's grubber and kicked ahead to dot down.

It was also the fifth game running that Saltonstall had been on the scoresheet against the Bulldogs.

Steve Tyrer scored his 100th try for Halifax in the first half. PIC: Jim Fitton.

Things got worse for Batley moments later when Steve Tyrer leaped between Wayne Reittie and Dom Brambani to ground Scott Murrell's kick for his 100th Halifax try.

Batley improved as the first half wore on and should have opened their account just after the half hour.

Paul Brearley looked certain to score but lost the ball inches before the whitewash.

The Bulldogs continued to dominate the final moments of the half but went in to the break further behind after Shaun Robinson intercepted and raced 90 metres to extend the home side's advantage.

Tyrer landed a brilliant conversion from the touchline to maintain his 100 per cent record with the boot.

Batley did get the reward for their dominance at the end of the first half when Brearley strolled over between the posts two minutes into the second half.

And the away side dragged themselves right back into the contest minutes later as James Brown slipped the ball to Jack Downs who dotted down unopposed.

The Bulldogs remained the better side as the second period wore on, but they were unable to fashion any real openings.

Halifax's Larroyer was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle on Johnny Campbell with 13 minutes to go, giving Batley the man advantage.

With just under 10 minutes to go, Batley were penalised for an offside just over 30 metres from the posts.

Tyrer - with only six points between the sides - opted to kick for goal and duly added the two points to extend the lead.

The Bulldogs came roaring back, however.

Alistair Leak broke the line and passed to the supporting Danny Yates who stepped round Quentin Laulu-Togaga'e to slide over next to the posts.

Scott's conversion reduced the deficit to just two points.

The Bulldogs pressed for the winning points but were unable to breach the Halifax defence for a fourth time.

Halifax: Laulu Togaga'e, Sharp, Tyrer, Saltonstall, Robinson, White, Murrell, Fairbank, Moore, Kavanagh, Larroyer, Grady, Grix. Subs: Fleming, Barber, Davies, Calcott.

Batley Bulldogs: Scott, Reittie, Wood, Smeaton, Campbell, Yates, Brambani, Gledhill, Leak, Everett, Manning, Downs, Brearley. Subs: Brown, Hemingway, Taira, Tomlinson.

Referee: Matthew Rossleigh