Championship: Huge game awaits derby rivals Batley and Hunslet

John Kear.
John Kear.
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BOTH COACHES are agreed on one thing: Batley Bulldogs’ derby at home to Hunslet Hawks tomorrow (3pm) is a big game.

Batley are third from bottom in the Kingstone Press Championship, ahead of Hawks on points difference. Both teams have won just one of their last nine games and Hawks are on an eight-match losing run.

“Should we win and other results go as we would expect, it will put us up to eighth,” Batley coach John Kear said.

“That is a massive jump, but that’s the outcome. You can forget about outcomes unless you do the processes correctly and that’s what we are mainly concentrating on.”

Despite recent results and their status on the league ladder, Kear insisted: “We are feeling good about ourselves.

“We played very well in the first half against Doncaster two weeks ago and last week, at Halifax, we competed really well against what we called the form team in the competition. But we realise we have to perform well to get the outcome we want.”

Hunslet were promoted at the end of last season and Kear added: “They have done really well. They have been really competitive. The fact it was a shock when they went to a team who finished fourth in the league last year and lost shows how far they have come.

“But that’s for them to worry about. We have got to worry about Batley Bulldogs and doing what’s right by our club.”

Hawks boss Barry Eaton is taking a similar approach. He said: “They are all big games, but obviously the next one is the most important.

“We are in good spirits and we’ve trained well this week, but Batley is a tough place to go and they are playing pretty well.

“They are not where they were expected to be at this stage of the season, but that shows what a high standard it is. We’re going to go there in good spirits and try and get a win.”

Hawks led Doncaster 26-6 in the second half last week, before slumping to a 34-26 defeat. Eaton said: “We’ve had a bit of a nightmare schedule, with Donny on the back of Halifax, London, Featherstone, Bradford and Leigh. We had a few tough calls which swung the momentum their way, but we have to be better at stemming the tide when things are going against us.”