Dragons too strong for battling Bulldogs

John Kear
John Kear
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Catalans Dragons swept into the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-finals despite a battling performance from brave Championship outfit Batley Bulldogs.

Batley made a storming start and when Cain Southernwood’s dangerous kick was spilled by full-back Tony Gigot it handed the Bulldogs an excellent attacking chance.

Batley twice turned down the opportunity to kick at goal from penalties and when they moved quickly left, a pass went to ground. Catalans launched a brilliant counter attack as winger Fouad Yaha collected a pass and raced 80 metres up the slope to score between the posts. Pat Richards tagged on the simple conversion.

Batley’s defence continued to thwart Catalans but they were guilty of handing over possession cheaply.

Eventually a neat move saw the Dragons open the defence and impressive scrum-half Richie Myler slipped a pass to send Duport over wide on the left and Richards landed a towering touchline conversion to give the visitors a 12-0 interval lead.

It took Catalans just five minutes after the re-start to extend their advantage as Louis Anderson’s long pass allowed Duport to step out of a tackle and race over behind the posts, with Richards converting.

Myler added his name to the scorers after a break by Willie Mason and lovely inside pass by Duport. Dave Taylor raced over and Richards goaled before the Dragons added their fifth try in 13 minutes when Gigot crossed and Richards improved.

Batley battled bravely up the slope and were rewarded with a well worked consolation try.

Keegan Hirst was lifted in a tackle and from the resulting penalty, Batley moved left, Chris Ulugia spun out of a tackle and sent Alex Brown racing over. Catalans had the last word though when Julian Bousquet sent Gigot over for his second try and Richards added his sixth goal

Batley Bulldogs: D Scott; Reittie, Ulugia, Bretherton, A Brown; Southernwood, Brambani; Hirst, Davey, J Brown, Chandler, Harrison, Blake. Subs: Leak, Lillycrop, Rowe, Peterson.

Catalans Dragons: Gigot; Yaha, Horo, Duport, Richards; Albert, Myler; Taylor, Pelissier, Casty, Stewart, Anderson, Baitieri. Subs: Bousquet, Mounis, Bosc, Mason.

Referee: Gareth Hewer (Whitehaven).