Batley Bulldogs v Dewsbury Rams: Outcome of derby crucial to foes’ future recruitment

Matt Diskin.
Matt Diskin.
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THERE IS a lot to play for in tomorrow’s Heavy Woollen derby (3pm), both coaches insist.

Hosts Batley Bulldogs are third in the Betfred Championship Shield table – seventh in the Championship – with Rams one place behind.

Neil Kelly.

Neil Kelly.

Neither team can qualify for the final and both look safe from relegation, but it could prove a key game in the fierce rivals’ seasons.

“It’s massive in the long term, regarding recruitment for next year,” said Batley coach Matt Diskin.

“If we want to bring in quality personnel we need to finish in seventh spot to secure as much funding as possible. The next two games – against Dewsbury and Barrow – are massive for us as a club.”

Tomorrow will be the sides’ fourth competitive meeting this year. Rams lead 2-1, but none of the games has been decided by more than eight points. Diskin added: “The last two times they’ve been better than us and that’s the frustrating thing.

“Every time we play them we seem to deliver an under-par performance. That’s because we are not disciplined enough or clinical in how we carry the game plan out.

“Dewsbury are relentless, they stick in there and they don’t go away, but we are confident going into it and we are in a good place squad-wise.”

Neil Kelly, the Dewsbury boss, also regards it as an important clash. He said: “We’re one point behind them and we’ve won the last two games against them.

“There’s a lot to play for, consolidating seventh/eighth spot for both clubs.

“It is a significant fixture in the calendar.”

Rams began their Shield campaign with a 40-7 home win over Swinton Lions last week.

“There were massive positives from that game,” Kelly said. “We’ve got a virtually fully-fit squad – Michael Knowles has a bit of a shoulder injury and we may not risk him – and we can’t wait to get out there.”

Of Batley, Kelly observed: “I’ve watched their game against Featherstone last week and seen a sharp upturn in the way they played and the tempo they played at.

“They played really well without getting a win. We’re not looking to have an easy run at it and we don’t want to be the ones that get them on the right track again.”