Batley Bulldogs 14 Featherstone Rovers 40: Teenager Newman sets record on debut as Briscoe closes in on another

TEENAGER HARRY Newman set one record and Luke Briscoe moved a step closer to another as Featherstone Rovers overpowered hosts Batley Bulldogs 40-14 in the Betfred Championship.

Sunday, 25th March 2018, 7:57 pm
Updated Sunday, 25th March 2018, 8:00 pm
Featherstone tryscorer Harry Newman. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Newman, making his debut on dual-registration from Leeds Rhinos, became the first player born this century to appear for Rovers and scored the try which wiped out Bulldogs’ lead 11 minutes into the second half.

Briscoe’s well-taken hat-trick extended his tryscoring run to nine games, one short of the Rovers record set by Paul Newlove in 1993. The win was more hard-fought than the scoreline suggests, though, Batley having been 12-0 up after just eight minutes and 14-10 ahead at the interval.

Scotland international full-back Dave Scott crossed from Patch Walker’s offload after six minutes and in the next set supported James Harrison’s break down the Mount Pleasant slope to touch down again.

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Luke Briscoe celebrates the first of a hat-trick of tries agaisnt Batley. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Walker converted both, but then Batley began to concede penalties and that gave Rovers a foothold in the game.

They missed a chance when Connor Farrell knocked-on trying to force his way way over, but James Lockwood sliced through on 15 minutes and Martyn Ridyard added the extras, for the first of his six goals from seven attempts.

Batley were reduced to 12 men when Jason Crookes was sin-binned 11 minutes before the break, just after the hosts had been placed on a team warning for persistent offending.

Rovers made the extra man count four minutes later. They tapped a penalty in front of the posts, Ridyard, Matty Wildie, Frankie Mariano and Josh Hardcastle moved the ball right to Briscoe and he crossed at the corner.

James Lockwood goes over to score for Featherstone at Batley. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Rovers would have been in front at half-time, but for knock-ons over the line by Mitch Clark – the prop on loan from Castleford Tigers – and Hardcastle.

Instead, Batley went in with a four-point advantage, thanks to Walker’s long-range penalty goal with the final kick of the half.

Batley pressed strongly at the start of the second 40, James Davey going close, but Ridyard’s 40-20 kick set up field position for 18-year-old Newman to cross for his first try at first team level. The conversion edged Rovers ahead, but Batley had one more chance to get something from the game – James Brown knocking on at the line – before Briscoe’s second try, on the hour opened the floodgates.

He collected a high kick from Izaac Farrell and raced 70 metres down the hill. Tom Holmes went over from Ridyard’s pass three minutes later and Briscoe completed his hat-trick – his second in six days culminating in seven tries in all – with 10 to go. Wildie scored Rovers’ seventh try, in the 77th minute.

Luke Briscoe celebrates the first of a hat-trick of tries agaisnt Batley. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

He started at scrum-half, with Holmes moving to full-back and Luke Cooper coming into the side on the bench, after Ian Hardman pulled out just before kick-off.

Batley Bulldogs: Scott, Tomlinson, Cowling, Galbraith, Crookes, Walker, I Farrell, Rowe, Leak, Ward, Smeaton, Harrison, Chandler. Subs Brambani, Davey, Brown, Holland.

Featherstone Rovers: Holmes, Briscoe, Hardcastle, Newman, Robinson, Ridyard, Wildie, Knowles, Carlile, Clark,C Farrell, Davies, Lockwood. Subs Cooper, Brooks, Mariano, Ormondroyd.

Referee: Nick Bennett (Dewsbury).

James Lockwood goes over to score for Featherstone at Batley. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Attendance: 1,273.