After going behind in the opening minutes a much changed Bulldogs’ side overcame rivals Sheffield Eagles in an entertaining game at The Fox’s Biscuits Stadium.
Match report by Luke Winner.
A frail start from the Bulldogs as 2 minutes into the first half Patrick Flynn opened the scoring in the far-right corner. Jack Owens struggled with the conversion. Even though the visitors were the first team on the scoreboard, Batley were sure to respond forcing two Goal-Line-Drop-Outs on the bounce. As the pressure grew and grew Sheffield’s defence collapsed, making it perfect for Dane Manning to go crashing over the line. Dave Scott added the extras.
Sheffield were making it tough for themselves with multiple errors on their own line. A high placed kick from Scott went flying in the direction of Ryan Millar who grappled with the ball, after being challenged by James Harrison forcing the error, Joe Chandler then swooped in collecting the loose ball to score. Dave Scott converted. Matt Diskin’s men again were proving to be too much for the Eagles defence, fast flowing ball play being hard to cope with. After confusion from the visitors and Shaun Ainscough danced his way over. Dave Scott couldn’t convert. Batley 16 – 4 Sheffield.
Alex Rowe looked to have gone over the line, however Referee Race adjudged there was a knock on. Alistair Leak frustrated with the decision was sent to the bin for preventing a quick 20m tap. The frustration increased with Batley sending two penalties the Eagles way; Mark Mexico took advantage swiftly, speeding through from close range. Jack Owens converted.
Batley headed inside at half-time leading narrowly: Batley Bulldogs 16 – 10 Sheffield Eagles
Just 5 minutes into the second half, the ball was kept alive by the visitors, however Jack Owens on the last pass was called forward. Some short side play after a quick play the ball, Alistair leak went low and scored. Dave Scott converted making his conversion rate 3/4. Tensions rose again and the yellow card was shown to Jonah Cunningham for a professional foul. Despite being a man down Duane Straugher powered his way over, bringing his team back into the game. Owens missed the conversion.
After the restart, Manning went high on the Eagles prop Wheeldon seeing afters occur. Once again a card was flashed, this time it was red for Eagles’ Wheeldon and the penalty was awarded to Sheffield. Regardless that Mark Astons side were down to 11 men, they still posed a great threat in attack, with Menzie Yere landing a great finish in the corner. Jack Owens couldn’t add the extras.
The final two tries of the game came 5 minutes apart, Alistair Leak grabbing his second of the day and Alex Bretherton scoring by a short ball from dummy half. Dave Scott added the extras.
A tough and hard fought encounter with changes made by both sides but a victory for The Bulldogs making it 3 wins over Sheffield this season. Onto next week when the two sides meet again for a place in the Kingstone Press Championship Shield Final!
Full-Time: Batley Bulldogs 34 – 18 Sheffield Eagles.
Batley 13 – Dave Scott, Wayne Reittie, Sam Smeaton, Danny Cowling, Shaun Ainscough, Joe Chandler, James Davey, Will Maher, Alistair Leak, Adam Gledhill, Dane Manning, James Harrison and Joel Farrell.
Interchange – Jason Crookes, Alex Bretherton, Alex Rowe and Brad Hill.
Sheffield 13 – Ryan Miller, Patrick Flynn, Menzie Yere, Perry Whiteley, Ben Blackmore, Jack Owens, Matthew Fozard, Scott Wheeldon, Gregory Burns, Kyle Trout, Liam Johnson, Duane Straughter and Liam Cooper.
Interchange – Jonah Cunningham, George Milton, Sam Scott and Mark Mexico.