Top-two on the agenda for Heavy Woollen pair

John Kear
John Kear
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NEIGHBOURing part-timers Batley Bulldogs and Dewsbury Rams each face a huge challenge tomorrow, against Super League hopefuls.

Bulldogs play host to Kingstone Press Championship leaders Leigh Centurions and Rams make the short trip to second-placed Bradford Bulls (both 3pm).

It will be Batley’s third home game in 10 days following a 40-12 loss to Sheffield Eagles and Wednesday’s narrow 28-22 defeat by London Broncos.

“I was really pleased with them,” coach John Kear said of the performance three days ago. “They responded really well to a disappointing second half against Sheffield. With a bit of luck we could have got a draw or a win and a draw was the last we deserved. All we can do is look to improve and it was a massive improvement.”

Kear admitted tomorrow will be a “massive challenge” against a Leigh team looking to bounce back from their first defeat of the year.

“It is tough backing up from Wednesday,” Kear admitted. “But that’s how the fixtures have fallen. We wanted to get through in the Cup and this is a consequence of that, so we’ve got to get on with it.”

Meanwhile, Rams coach Glenn Morrison has been concerned about his team’s form against sides lower than them on the table, but that won’t be an issue tomorrow.

Bradford lost at Leigh in their opening game, but have won all their league matches since and Morrison said: “They are playing well, really well.

“We seem to be able to rise for the teams at the top and we are going to have to this week, or we will embarass ourselves. I am looking for a response from the boys. There will probably be a couple of changes and it will be tough for them if any second-teamers do get a run, but if you can’t rise for this game you don’t deserve to be playing.”

Rams pushed Bradford close at home earlier in the year and Morrison added: “We were only four points behind with a few minutes to go.

“We dropped the ball on the first tackle, they kicked a 40-20 and scored a late try. We were a bit unlucky, but they have kicked on a bit since then and we are stumbling a bit, but hopefully we will get a good performance.” Rams will be without ex-Bradford centre Jason Crookes (broken nose).