Toulouse Olympique XIII 51 Batley Bulldogs 12: Spirited Batley eventually blown away in play-off semi-final
BATLEY Bulldogs’ hopes of making a shock appearance in the Million Pound Game were ended despite a valiant first-half performance in France.
Craig Lingard’s part-timers trailed just 16-12 at half-time against League Leaders’ Toulouse Olympique at Stade Ernest-Wallon.
They competed hard and tested the overwhelming favourites on numerous occasions, scoring tries through second-row Dane Manning and winger Greg Johnson with Tom Gilmore improving both.
However, star-studded Toulouse predictably came home stronger in the second period, the full-time outfit scoring 35 unanswered points to leave themselves just 80 minutes from Super League.
Ex-Hull KR centre Junior Vavai (2), former Catalans Dragons and France prop Remi Casty plus Grand Final-winning ex-Leeds Rhinos front-row Mitch Garbutt were among their tryscorers, an illustration of the class in their ranks.
Joe Bretherton, Tony Gigot, Mathieu Jussaume, Justin Sangare and Mark Kheirallah all also crossed with Kheirallah adding seven goals and Gigot slotting a drop goal.
Toulouse, unbeaten all season, will face the winners of Featherstone Rovers v Halifax at Stade Ernest-Wallon next Sunday for a place in Super League.