Batley Bulldogs plunged Hunslet Hawks further into Championship relegation trouble with a comfortable 45-28 win over the Hawks at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium, writes Oliver Roby.
After a slow start from both sides, it was Hunslet who eventually broke the deadlock through Callum Casey on 15 minutes.
But tries from Alex Brown and Luke Blake saw the game swing in Batley’s favour before Jack Lee and Jimmy Watson responded, leaving the visitors 18-10 up after half an hour.
However, Batley stormed back, scoring five unanswered tries either side of half-time; Sean Hesketh, Tom Lillycrop, Brown, Brad Day and Shaun Squires helping the hosts to a 38-18 lead. Andy Yates, on dual registration from Leeds Rhinos, and Lee got over for Hunslet as they looked for a glimmer of hope in the closing stages.
But it wasn’t enough as Joe Chandler’s try before a Scott Leatherbarrow drop goal helped seal the points for the Bulldogs, who move up to ninth, while Hunslet sit two points adrift in the bottom two.
Batley coach John Kear was satisfied with the win, but said there was “work to do” ahead of this Sunday’s trip to Dewsbury.
“If you’d have offered me a 17-point win before the game I would have been happy with that,” he said. “We earned that victory in the first half and scored some good tries up the hill, but I thought we were sloppy in some areas.
“Our goal line defence was absolutely terrible. There were three really soft tries which aren’t acceptable at this level and some of our ball handling wasn’t the best either, so there’s plenty of work to do in training.”
Batley Bulldogs: Campbell; Reittie, Ainscough, Squires, Brown; Southernwood, Leatherbarrow; Hirst, Blake, Rowe; Day, Scott, Chandler. Subs: Nicholson, Hesketh, Lillycrop, Brown.
Hunslet Hawks: Watson, Agoro, Maun, Gee, Barnett; Brown, Kain; Yates, Lee, Haley; Casey, Mackay, Mulhern. Subs: Flanagan, Castle, Grimshaw, Trout.
Referee: Chris Kendall (RFL).
Leigh put one hand on the league leaders’ shield after sharing the points in a 36-36 draw with Bradford in front of a Kingstone Press Championship record crowd of 9,181 at the Provident Stadium.