Championship: Bulldogs fend off late-game drama to net bragging rights

Scott Leatherbarrow
Scott Leatherbarrow
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Batley ended Dewsbury’s hopes of finishing the first part of the Kingstone Press Championship campaign in fifth as they recorded a 16-12 victory at Tetley’s Stadium.

Both sides had early chances before the game erupted in the 20th minute when Dewsbury’s Stephen Nash was sin-binned following a fracas immediately after being introduced as a substitute.

Dewsbury broke the deadlock with a 26th minute try as Dalton Grant stormed down the left touchline and was clattered by a head high tackle from Batley full-back Johnny Campbell before touching down. Campbell was sin-binned, while Kieran Hyde pulled his difficult conversion attempt wide.

Batley immediately hit back when Anthony Nicholson’s superb cut-out pass sent Alex Brown in at the left corner and Scott Leatherbarrow landed a touchline goal then tagged on a penalty to send them into an 8-4 half-time lead.

Dewsbury produced a much improved display after the break and Luke Adamson’s excellent long pass sent Grant over for his second try.

Leatherbarrow edged Batley back in front with a penalty but Dewsbury struck 18 minutes from time. Nathan Conroy grubber kicked to the right corner and, as Campbell tried to shepherd the ball dead, Dale Morton pounced to score.

Hyde missed a third difficult touchline conversion.

Batley responded well and a fine passing ended with loanee Chris Ulugia beating his marker and raced away to dive over for a try. Leatherbarrow was unable to convert but kicked a penalty soon after.

Dewsbury’s Grant was tackled just short of the line before Karl Pryce’s kick was hacked dead. Dewsbury gathered the drop out and launched an up and under from the last play of the game but Batley won possession and their players leapt for joy.

Dewsbury Rams: Fieldhouse; Morton, Pryce, Crookes, Grant; Hyde, Aaron Brown; Jackson, Wildie, Aizue, Hale, Farrell, L Adamson. Subs: B Smith, Conroy, Muranka, Nash.

Batley Bulldogs: Campbell; Ainscough, Squires, Ulugia, Alex Brown; Nicholson, Leatherbarrow; Gledhill, Blake, Rowe, Bretherton, Day, Chandler. Subs: Leak, Hesketh, Lillycrop, J Brown.

Referee: Dave Merrick (RFL).

Attendance: 1, 319.