After an even start to the tie the Rams took control of the first quarter and after an excellent 40/20 from Paul Sykes the resulting set saw Robbie Ward charge over the line for the visitors on the 9th minute, however the conversion was missed; giving them a 0 – 4 lead early on.

In the 15th minute after sustained pressure from The Rams former Batley favourite Alex Brown finished a magical move from the Rams, across the pitch left to right, for Guzdek passing to Brown to score. Sykes again found it hard to add the extras, leaving them with a 0 – 8 lead. Shortly after, another fine Dewsbury move looked certain to bring a try before Wayne Reittie intercepted to regain possession and break upfield. James Brown was yellow carded by the referee for a tip tackle and The Rams were fast to take advantage while the Bulldogs were standing with a man down, they asserted a tremendous amount of pressure which took its toll on Batley forcing a Goal-Line-Drop-Out. Dewsbury fed the ball out to the winger Alex Brown hoping he would increase their lead even further by going over in the gap in the far-right corner, but Ainscough was on the chase and managed to end up forcing Brown into touch.

Batley at this point were having over half of the possession of the ball and Dewsbury were struggling to make it out of their 30m line. Matt Diskin took this as an opportunity to send some fresh legs onto the field and as Bretherton came on for Farrell as well as James Brown re-entering the field of play after the sin bin. With the Bulldogs now having a fresh set of legs on the field and back to 13 they were back in the game as Dane Manning powered his way over the line on the 35th minute taking at least 3 Rams players with him, Patch Walker added the extras with ease.  The hooter sounded and half-time was called at the Fox’s Biscuits stadium leaving the score at Batley Bulldogs 6 – 8 Dewsbury Rams.

Dewsbury started their set and entered the Bulldogs 20m but their next few plays came to nothing and this time it was for Batley to start their first set of the second half. The Rams struggled to handle the offensive pressure being applied onto their line, this then led to them being frustrated leaking two penalties on the bounce for interference of play. The Bulldogs just couldn’t break their defensive line after testing various amount of times and ended up gifting them a 20m restart. They pushed past the Batley 20m and Gareth Moore kicks on the last to the left-hand corner, Reittie couldn’t control the spiraling kick and he spilled the ball forward into the hand of Dale Morton who went over to score on the 50th minute; Sykes took the conversion putting it at: Batley Bulldogs 6 – 14 Dewsbury Rams.

8 minutes later Batley hit back hard with former Dewsbury player Jason Crookes going over near the far left hand corner on the 58th minute. Patch Walker made it 2 out of 2 bringing the score line to: 12 – 14.

Within 2 minutes of the restart The Bulldogs were over again. James Brown held off multiple defenders, passing the ball out wide to Reittie sending the speedster flying over and Walker just missing the conversion making it: Batley Bulldogs 18 – 14 Dewsbury Rams.

With 6 minutes gone since the previous try from the Bulldogs they hit back even harder than the last, with a fantastic break from Dane Manning with an excellent offload sending the ball into the direction of Dominic Brambani’s hands enabling him to score just to the right side of the posts, Patch Walker converts making it 24 – 14 leaving the clock with 14 minutes left and the score line in the favour of Batley.

The Bulldogs now were testing their defence as much as they could with Smeaton almost sending Reittie over again, but he is held up inches away. However, this doesn’t faze Batley as 3 minutes later another Ex-Dewsbury player Joel Farrell slides his way over from close range, with Walker adding the all-important extras. Now just 9 minutes left to play for the Bulldogs dug deep and sent Reittie over for his second try of the game and Walker again converting with the score turning to 30 – 14!
Dewsbury never gave up the cause and hit back for Gareth Moore to go over, this last try was a tricky one for the Referee to judge, after speaking to the linesman a decision was made and a penalty try was given due to the Bulldogs pulling him back from the line, Sykes added the extras bringing the game to a close.

Bulldogs: Reittie, Smeaton, Sourthenwood, Crookes, Ainscough, Walker, Brambani, Gledhill, Leak, Lillycrop, Manning, Farrell and Day. Interchange: Bretherton, Rowe, Davey and Brown.

Rams: Gudzek, Morton, Hallett, Squires, (Alex) Brown, Sykes, Moore, Sheriffe, Ward, Teanby, Spicer, Crowther and (Aaron) Brown. Interchange: Speakman, Adamson, Walshaw and Everett.

Final Score: Batley Bulldogs 36 – 20 Dewsbury Rams.


Match report by Luke Winner.