Halifax 25 Batley 22: Battling Bulldogs brave fightback falls just short against Halifax

Wayne Reittie.
Wayne Reittie.
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Halifax stayed on course for a top four Championship finish after a hard-fought home 25-22 win over Batley Bulldogs.

Richard Marshall’s side, who have now won seven straight games, looked to have the contest sewn up when they led 24-6 inside the final quarter.

But a Wayne Reittie interception, converted by Scott Leatherbarrow, cut the gap to 24-12 before prop Keegan Hirst added the visitors’ third try to make it 24-18.

Halifax captain Scott Murrell tagged on a drop goal to give his side a seven-point lead, before Reittie’s second left the home side hanging on for the final minute.

Earlier a scrappy opening meant the deadlock wasn’t broken until the 33rd minute.

The try, when it came, was hardly carefully constructed; young half-back Ben Johnston wriggling clear of a couple of grasping defenders and darting over behind the posts.

Steve Tyrer kicked the conversion and, with pressure building on the visitors, Halifax doubled their lead close to half- time.

Tyrer rose high to claim a Scott Murrell cross kick, tapped the ball back inside and, eventually, it found its way to Adam Robinson, who dived over under the posts.

Tyrer made it 12-0 at the break, before Batley’s James Day touched down five minutes into the second half, Leatherbarrow converting.

Halifax took charge of proceedings when James Saltonstall touched down, quickly followed by Johnston, Tyrer converting both for a 24-6 lead.

But Reittie’s try sparked an unexpected grandstand finish.

Halifax: Saltonstall; Potts, Heaton, Tyrer, Saxton; Murrell, Johnston; Tangata, Kaye, Cahalane, Divorty, Manning, Moore. Subs: Spencer, C. Robinson, Menzies, A Robinson.

Batley: Campbell; Reittie, Cosgrove, Squires, Ulugia; Southernwood, Leatherbarrow; Hirst, Nicholson, Rowe, Day, Scott, Chandler. Subs: Craven, Leak, Lillycrop, Brown.

Referee: Gareth Hewer (RFL).

Attendance: 1,995.