Batley Bulldogs v Dewsbury Rams: Out-of-form derby foes go toe to toe

Neil Kelly.
Neil Kelly.
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BOTH TEAMS are on a three-game losing run, but opposing coaches Matt Diskin and Neil Kelly expect today’s Heavy Woollen derby to be as fiercely contested as ever.

“Form goes out of the window,” said Diskin, whose Batley Bulldogs side have home advantage this evening (6.30pm).

Matt Diskin.

Matt Diskin.

“Dewsbury are playing a very tough brand of rugby under Neil Kelly and they’ve had some success.

“He turned them around last year and they’ve had a couple of good wins this season.

“We know it is going to be a close game.”

Batley are away to Sheffield Eagles on Monday and Diskin accepts the next few weeks will be a big challenge for his squad.

Several players battled through injuries or illness in last Sunday’s 40-14 loss to Featherstone Rovers and the coach said the Easter period is tough for any part-time side.

“It is hard for the full-time teams and the part-time boys are having to carry it out on top of work as well,” he said.

“By the time we play Toulouse we will have played four games in 16 days, which is ridiculous, but it is what it is.

“It is pointless moaning about it, it is something we’ve always done and always do and it’s just a test of your squad.

“It’s something we enjoy and look forward to as well.”

Rams are also coming off a heavy defeat, having been beaten 36-0 at Leigh Centurions five days ago.

That was their third loss in six Betfred Championship games this year, but all those have been against full-time teams.

“We want to get back to winning ways,” Kelly said.

“But on the positive side, we’ve won every league game we’ve played against a part-time team and I will be happy if I can still say that this time next week.”

Rams are at home to Halifax on Monday and Kelly admitted injuries and the unavailability of loan and dual-registered players makes Easter a tough time.

But he stressed: “The fact [today] is a big derby makes it a stand-alone fixture. No matter who we have in our team I expect them to be motivated to play well and to be motivated to win. Batley had the upper hand on us late last season so it’s our turn to win one.”