Batley Bulldogs stunned Leigh Centurions 24-22 in the opening Kingstone Press Championship game of the season.
Batley trailed 22-12 entering the final 10 minutes of a pulsating contest when Dominic Brambani launched a 40-20 kick to set up an attack.Cain Southernwood’s crossfield kick was gathered by Chris Ulugia for his second try of the match.
Shaun Ainscough came within inches of pouncing on a Brambani kick to the in-goal area before Batley launched a last-minute attack. Ulugia broke the Leigh defence and slipped a pass inside for Ainscough to race over. Pat Walker converted to level at 22-22.
Deep into stoppage time, Brambani launched a towering up and under which Rangi Chase spilled before pulling a chasing Batley attacker back.
Referee Gareth Hewer had no hesitation in awarding Batley a penalty and Walker hammered over the winning goal before the final hooter.
Although the game will be remembered for Batley’s comeback, it was their hard work when playing uphill in the first half that laid the platform.Andrew Dixon and Tom Armstrong grabbed first-half tries for Leigh, both goaled by Martyn Ridyard, but Batley hit back through James Brown and Ulugia, with Walker and Brambani converting.
Leigh looked to have taken a stranglehold on the game with second-half tries by Micky Higham and Ryan Brierley, together with another Ridyard goal, but Batley showed terrific spirit to battle back and snatch a dramatic victory.
Batley Bulldogs: D Scott; Reittie, Squires, Ulugia, Ainscough; Southernwood, Brambani; Hirst, Blake, Gledhill, S Scott, Chandler, Walker. Subs: Lillycrop, Davey, Brown, Day.
Leigh Centurions: Chase; Higson, Worthington, Armstrong, Kay; Ridyard, Brierley; Moi Moi, Higham, Weston, Hansen, Dixon, Emmitt. Subs: Foster, Spencer, MAitui, Hopkins.
Referee: Gareth Hewer (Whitehaven).