We hung in and got our reward in the end, says Batley Bulldogs coach Craig Lingard

BATLEY Bulldogs coach Craig Lingard hailed his side’s spirit after their “rollercoaster” opening day Betfred Championship win over Halifax Panthers.

By Dave Craven
Sunday, 30th January 2022, 10:13 pm
Winner: Batley coach Craig Lingard saw his side get off to a winning start against Halifax. Picture by Ed Sykes/SWpix.com
Winner: Batley coach Craig Lingard saw his side get off to a winning start against Halifax. Picture by Ed Sykes/SWpix.com

They were 16-0 down inside only 25 minutes but got back to 18-18 just after the hour mark and then surged home with two late tries to win 30-18.

Lingard said: “It was a rollercoaster. We were 16-6 down at half-time but I didn’t think we got what we deserved in the first half.

“The intensity and effort we played with, we didn’t really get the rewards for what we put in.

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Reality check: Halifax Panthers coach Simon Grix.

Halifax managed the game really well in that first half. They got a lot of repeat sets and that probably contributed to the two tries they scored, two barge-over ones which is always disappointing to concede when you defend your line so well.

“They also got a kick try that rebounded and could have gone anywhere. But we came in at half-time and said to the guys we’re 95 per cent there; the scoreboard doesn’t reflect the effort you’ve put in. If you keep doing what you did in the first half you’d probably get your rewards. And they did.”

The only disappointment for Lingard was the fact Josh Hodson, Alistair Leak and James Meadows each failed HIAs so all automatically miss Sunday’s trip to Newcastle Thunder.

Halifax coach Simon Grix, who saw his side reduced to 11 men for that critical stage near the end following two yellow cards, had few complaints. He said: “They had a sin-binning as well but they handled that ten times better than us. I think we’ve been humbled a little bit. There’d been some nice positive chat about us as a club - we’d gone well last year and got a few good players sign for us - but we got put in our place a bit today and shown we’re not as good as people are saying.

“Did we think it was going to be an easy 40? If that doesn’t wake us up, I’m not sure what will.”