Batley Bulldogs 18 Toronto Wolfpack 26: Wolfpack fend off battling Bulldogs to thwart upset

Batley's go-forward pack man, Alex Rowe.
Batley's go-forward pack man, Alex Rowe.
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Batley Bulldogs produced a terrific effort as they came close to pulling off an upset against Betfred Championship leaders Toronto Wolfpack.

The Bulldogs deservedly led 12-6 at half-time having produced some of their best rugby of the season but eventually slipped to a 26-18 defeat against the big-spending Canadian outfit.

Bulldogs' flier Wayne Reittie is feared to have dislocated his shoulder in the act of scoring against Toronot. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

Bulldogs' flier Wayne Reittie is feared to have dislocated his shoulder in the act of scoring against Toronot. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

Bulldogs were led brilliantly by a huge effort from their pack with props Alex Rowe and Tommy Holland driving them forward in the early stages.

Toronto struck with an eighth-minute try, stand-off Josh McCrone stretching over and Ryan Brierley converting.

Batley hit back and Toronto were twice penalised, while Alistair Leak was held inches short following a quick dart from acting-half.

The pressure eventually told as Patch Walker produced a neat kick to the in-goal area and James Harrison pounced to score, with Walker converting.

Batley stormed back down the slope and Wayne Reittie was hauled down short then pulled back by the referee for a forward pass. But Batley struck with a terrific try in the final seconds of the first half. Reittie intercepted a Toronto pass and juggled the ball before racing downfield and outpacing Kay and Brierley on an 80-metre run to the line. Reittie dived over for a spectacular try but was injured in the process and received lengthy treatment in as the hooter sounded.

Walker landed a touchline goal and the Bulldogs left the field to a standing ovation before Reittie was helped from the field during the interval with a dislocated shoulder.

Batley were starved of possession for long periods of the second half and were felt aggrieved at several key decisions going against them.

Batley had the last word, however, Michael Ward keeping the ball alive for Brad Day to race through. Walker converted from the touchline with the last kick of the game.

Batley Bulldogs: Scott; Reittie, Smeaton, Galbraith, Crookes; Walker, Brambani; Holland, Leak, Rowe, Harrison, Day, J Farrell. Subs: Davey, Brown, Manning, Ward.

Toronto Wolfpack: O’Brien; Pownall, Stanley, Worthington, Kay; Brierley, Emmitt; Ackers, Sims, Bussey, Whiting, Buchanan. Subs: Maitua, Sidlow, Hopkins, Wallace.

Referee: Tom Grant.

Attendance: 1,151.

Matt Diskin.

Batley Bulldogs v Toronto: We’ll give the Wolfpack a real run for their money, insists Diskin