Rival coaches agree that derby day’s lost its shine

Kingstone Championship.'Sheffield Eagles v Batley Bulldogs.'Batley's coach Matt Diskin.'26th Febuary 2016.'Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe
Kingstone Championship.'Sheffield Eagles v Batley Bulldogs.'Batley's coach Matt Diskin.'26th Febuary 2016.'Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe
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IT IS possible to have too much of a good thing, rival coaches Neil Kelly and Matt Diskin reckon.

Tomorrow’s game at Tetley’s Stadium (3pm) will be the eighth competitive meeting between Dewsbury Rams and Batley Bulldogs since April last year, with at least one more to come in the Betfred Championship Shield – and the teams are getting fed up of the sight of each other.

“It’s not just this derby, it’s all of them,” said Rams coach Kelly. “We are playing each other too much through the course of a season and it’s losing its novelty. If you lose bragging rights by not getting the result you probably only have to wait a few more weeks before you get another chance.”

Kelly’s comments were echoed by Diskin, the Batley boss. He said: “It takes the edge off the derbies, it’s like that across the board.

“They are trying to milk the cow a bit too much and it’s getting diluted.”

Both teams are on a poor run. Bulldogs have lost their last eight Championship matches and Diskin observed: “There is a bit of extra incentive because Dewsbury beat us at the Summer Bash and we want to correct that.

“We’re not looking for excuses, but we’ve had a terrible list of injuries and we’ve played the top-six teams in succession. We’ve had opportunities to pick points up if we’d been more clinical and this week we’re not far off full strength. We’ve got plenty of people coming back.”

Batley are treating tomorrow and next week’s match at Swinton Lions as “must-wins”, Diskin said.

He added: “If we win them it’ll create some confidence and momentum going into the final seven games.”

Rams have won only two of their last 17 league games and are third from bottom, three places behind Batley.

Kelly said: “They are in a slightly better position than us, but probably in a worse run of form.

“It’s two teams just looking for a result. A performance would be nice, but the result is all-important in this game.

He added: “I think we are evenly-matched so it will be a good game. We need to step up to the plate and cut out the lapses of concentration that come at important times in a game.”