Dewsbury Rams 12
Batley Bulldogs 26
BATLEY Bulldogs ground out a hard-fought win over local rivals Dewsbury Rams in a Co-operative Championship Heavy Woollen derby that failed to live up to expectations.
Batley were made to work hard by a determined Dewsbury side who had former Great Britain forward Paul Broadbent in charge for the first time after he replaced Warren Jowitt as coach in midweek.
Both sides were guilty of making numerous handling errors which badly effected the flow of the game.
Paul Mennell was held up over the try line after six minutes for Batley, while Dewsbury’s best chance came when impressive prop Matty Nicholson made a superb break from inside his own ‘25.
He showed a terific turn of pace for a forward as he raced away only to be hauled down 10 yards short.
The deadlock was broken after 22 minutes when Bulldogs pressure finally told. Centre Jason Walton was clattered by a ferocious tackle but managed to slip the ball out to Johnny Campbell, who raced in at the right corner. Gareth Moore added a brilliant touchline conversion from in front of the large Batley travelling support.
Referee Ronnie Laughton earned the wrath of both sets of supporters as he awarded a glut of penalities.
Mr Laughton first awarded Batley a penalty but when Mennell darted over from acting half-back, he judged the Batley hooker had knocked on and ruled out the score.
Soon after Batley were awarded another penalty and Moore tagged on the goal.
Batley had far more possession in the first half but it was Dewsbury who ended the stronger and they could have taken the lead before half-time.
Back-to-back penalties put the Rams on attack and Matthew Tebb produced a lovely short pass to send Danny Samuel over for a try which Patch Walker converted.
In first half stoppage time the Rams hoisted a huge up and under and Elliot Cosgrove raced through and managed to get his finger tips to the ball but he knocked on and Batley breathed a sigh of relief as they went into the break with a slender two point lead.
The game had been a somewhat timid affair but it sprang to life after 50 minutes with a brawl on the far side of the pitch.
When calm was eventually restored, Rams stand-off Walker and Bulldogs loose forward Ash Lindsay were spoken to, Batley substitute Matty Wildie and Dewsbury scrum-half Scott Spaven were sin-binned, while the incident was also put on report by Mr Laughton.
It was now Dewsbury’s turn to have a spell of pressure as they threatened the Bulldogs line.
With the Rams attacking again, a pass went to ground and Walton kciked the ball 50 yards downfield for Alex Brown to chase.
Nobody had the pace to match Batley’s flying winger and the ball bounced perfectly into Brown’s arms for him to canter to the line, Moore added the simple goal and the Bulldogs had breathing space.
Another period of stalemate followed before Batley scored a decisive third try when Mennell kicked through and Wildie gathered to score at the right of the posts and Moore again added the extras.
Dewsbury refused to lie down and responded when Ryan Esders sent Mick Wainwright over wide on the right, with Walker adding a superb touchline goal but it was Batley who had the last word when former Ram Keegan Hirst was held up over the line before Alex Walmsley drove between the posts and Moore landed his fifth goal with the last kick of the game.
New Dewsbury coach Broadbent can take plenty of possitives from the display, while Batley fans can begin planning a jaunt to the end of season play-offs.
Dewsbury Rams: Craven; Wainwright, Esders, Scott, Buchanan; Walker, Spaven; Chandler, Flanagan, Nicholson, Cosgrove, Tonks, Barlow. Subs (all used): Daley Williams, Tebb, Samuel, Schofield.
Batley Bulldogs: Campbell; Potts, Walton, Maun, Brown; Black, Moore; Smith, Mennell, Potter, Bretherton, Applegarth, Lindsay. Subs (all used): Wildie, Hirst, A Walmsley, L Walmsley.
Referee: Ronnie Laughton (Barnsley).