Batley Bulldogs were eliminated from the Challenge Cup in dramatic fashion after Dewsbury Rams claimed a golden point victory at the Tetley’s Stadium.
Just ten days earlier, Dewsbury registered their first competitive win of the season against Batley in the Kingstone Press Championship. Therefore, the Bulldogs were on a mission to seek revenge at the Tetley’s Stadium.
Bulldogs’ Jy Hitchcox was making his debut for Batley after being sidelined for over a year through injury.
In the opening five minutes, a penalty for a high shot gave Batley the opportunity to open the scoring but full back Dave Scott was held up to deny the visitors an early lead.
From the following set, Batley were awarded a penalty or interference and the Bulldogs took full advantage after Macauley Hallett crashed over from close range. Batley had started the game on the front foot and were deservedly ahead inside seven minutes. Cain Southernwood, on his return to action, put the conversion marginally wide.
Within minutes of kick off, Dewsbury were over in the corner for a try of their own. A penalty conceded by Leak allowed Dewsbury to take full advantage and full back Josh Guzdek dived over in the corner to draw the game level. Paul Sykes’ conversion attempt was pulled wide.
Soon after, Batley were denied a second try after the referee deemed Dom Brambani’s pass to Brad Day to be forward and the Rams survived.
Midway through the first half, Batley were gifted an oppotunity to retake the lead after Robbie Ward kicked out on the full for Dewsbury inside their own half. A strong run from Brad Day earned Batley a penalty just ten metres out and the Bulldogs took full advantage.
Adam Gledhill and Alistair Leak were both held up before a wide pass by Southernwood found Farrell who put it on a plate for Macauley Hallett to score his second try of the game in the corner. Southernwood, on this occasion, kicked the resulting conversion to stretch Batley’s advantage.
From the restart, a high tackle by Dewsbury’s Dan Igbinedion gifted another opportunity for Batley deep in Dewsbury territory. A storming run and finish from prop forward Tom Lillycrop gave Batley their third try of the game. Southernwood, from in front of the posts, extended Batley’s lead with another successful conversion.
Despite mounting Batley pressure, it was the home side who scored next after Paul Sykes crashed over in the corner. A kick on the last tackle by Dewsbury ricocheted off of the chest of Batley prop Alex Rowe and Dewsbury took full advantage of an extra set after Sykes was found out wide to score. Sykes subsequently stepped up and missed the following conversion.
Moments before the break, a neat grubber kick by Brambani was poorly gathered by Dale Morton who knocked on and Batley were awarded a head and feed in dangerous territory. However, strong Dewsbury defence ensured that the ball went dead. In the aftermath, Smeaton was sent to the sin bin for Batley for obstructing play.
From the following set, Dewsbury scored again after a powerful break. Andy Kain broke through a gap in the Batley defence and put it on a plate for Guzdek to score his second of the game. Sykes added the extras to put Dewsbury within two points of Batley’s lead.
HT: Dewsbury Rams 14-16 Batley Bulldogs.
In the early exchanges of the second half, a strong attack by Batley forced a goal line dropout. From the following set, Cain Southernwood was held up well by Dewsbury and the Rams survived the Batley onslaught.
Soon after, a knock on by Igbinedion on the Bulldogs’ try line ensured that Batley’s lead remained intact.
However, Batley’s inability to finish soon became their downfall. Dewsbury took the lead for the first time in the game after Aaron Brown dived over after a clever grubber kick by Speakman. Sykes stepped up and added the extras for Dewsbury.
Then, interference by Batley gave Dewsbury a penalty and a chance to extend their lead to six. Sykes, from just in front of the halfway line, kicked the penalty to give Dewsbury a 22-16 lead with less than twenty minutes to play.
Within minutes, a kick by Dom Brambani was pounced on by Brambani himself to finish off a quite superb individual effort and gift Batley an opportunity to draw level with just fifteen minutes left. Southernwood’s conversion was wide and Dewsbury’s slender lead remained.
Batley looked to be over through Leak but the Bulldogs hooker was well held up and Dewsbury survived once more.
With three minutes to play, Batley were awarded a penalty for interference and Southernwood had the chance to draw the game level with a penalty. Southernwood converted and the game as level at 22-22 with seconds to play.
Brambani had the opportunity to win the game for Batley but his drop goal attempt was wide.
FT: Dewsbury Rams 22-22 Batley Bulldogs
The Heavy Woollen derby was to be decided by a golden point.
Dewsbury received the kick off but were unable to score in their set. From the resulting set, Dewsbury Rams’ Lewis Fairhurst scored the game winning drop goal and eliminated Batley from the Challenge Cup.