An eleven-try romp from the Bulldogs christened the renamed LoveRugbyLeague.com Stadium as they crushed the Swinton Lions 62-6 to move third on the league ladder.
BATLEY BULLDOGS 62-6 SWINTON LIONS
Co-operative Championship, LoveRugbyLeague.com Stadium, 2 August 2012
The Bulldogs ended a sequence of two league defeats in emphatic style this evening as Gareth Moore's 26-point haul alongside a virtuoso Ben Black display was just too strong for the visiting Swinton Lions.
Facing up the slope in the opening period, a near-faultless display from the hosts, coupled with ill-discipline from the visitors ensured that the Bulldogs had opened up a convincing and deserved advantage come the interval. Starting brightly, and bolstered by an inspired performance by stand-off Ben Black, Batley threatened within the first 5 minutes with Ash Lindsay held up on the line according to VR Ian Smith. However, on 8 minutes, with the Lions' defence stretched, Paul Mennell and Black combined to give Mark Applegarth the opportunity to pierce the visitors' line to open the scoring, ably converted by the dependable boot of Gareth Moore.
Unfortunately, a lazy penalty for laying on by Byron Smith gave Swinton their first dangerous field position and on 12 minutes, the VR was again called into action as Johnny Campbell and Kevin Penny wrestled in goal from Ian Watson's crossfield kick. Mr Smith adjudged that the persistence of Penny had secured the Lions their first points of the game, and Ian Mort restored parity to the scoreline with his conversion attempt. To be brutally honest, the visitors' try was very much against the run of play which was demonstrated by the second quarter of the match, which was very much one-way traffic as the Bulldogs really took the game by the scruff of the neck.
Moore claimed to have scored on 20 minutes, but he grounded the ball after Alex Bretherton had knocked forward, but just two minutes later the home side hit the front again with a legitimate score. More smart work from the effervescent Black created the opening for Gareth Potts to fly through the Swinton defensive line and outpace his markers to score. Moore's conversion edged the hosts further ahead and it was even better news on 27 minutes when Mennell fed in Alex Walmsley to barrel over from close range with Lions' markers hanging on him. Moore was again accurate with the extras and Batley had opened up a commanding 18-6 advantage.
A rare moment of attacking flair from the Lions on 34 minutes was halted as Penny's attempt to score was pulled back for a forward pass by Martin Ainscough and the Bulldogs emerged from the lucky escape to power in two more tries in the closing four minutes of the half. Matty Wildie and Black produced a slick interchange of passes to leave Wildie clear to the line on 36 minutes (converted by Moore) and then on the hooter, Moore's persistence near the line was rewarded by the video referee who deemed he had broken the tryline as he plonked the ball down with three markers in attendance. He failed to convert his own score, but the Bulldogs left the field with a handsome advantage at the break.
HALF-TIME: BATLEY BULLDOGS 28-6 SWINTON LIONS
With the slope at their backs and a dejected Lions side facing them, the second half became little more than a procession as the Bulldogs scored 34 unanswered points to clinch a comprehensive victory. On 43 minutes the hosts thought they had extended their lead when Johnny Campbell's chip down the pitch wasn't cleared by Penny and Moore pounced on the loose ball, but the video referee adjudged that the Batley scrum-half had failed to ground the ball correctly. However, the Bulldogs only had to wait a further three minutes to open their second-half account - Black again was the architect, releasing Alex Walmsley who carried the ball forward before feeding in Moore to score and convert his own try.
Although the Lions temporarily halted the scoring, on 59 minutes it was Black once again stepping away from the Swinton defensive line and as he dashed towards the try line, Liam Walmsley came up on his shoulder to score a debut try, again easily converted by Moore to push the score on to 40-6 in favour of the hosts. Two minutes later, a knock on from Alex Brown gave the visitors dangerous field position, but the winger made amends from the resultant set as he picked up a stray ball and hared the length of the field to score a spectacular try. Once again, Moore managed the extras as the visitors all but crumbled.
The tries continued to arrive at regular intervals. On 70 minutes, Paul Mennell fed in Mark Applegarth to score from close range, verified by the video referee and then four minutes later, a great team try, created by Black and Walton was completed by Byron Smith, with both efforts converted by Moore, to bring his personal points tally to an impressive 26. The final word fittingly came from man of the match Black, who looped out a pass for Johnny Campbell to score in the corner as the Lions defensive line, and Penny in particular, were sucked infield.
In conclusion, arguably the Bulldogs' most clinical performance on the season. Rot duly stopped and with three key games remaining, the priority for JK and his charges will surely now be to secure their best possible finish as the regular season draws to a close.
BATLEY BULLDOGS: 1 Campbell, 2 Potts, 3 Walton, 4 Maun, 5 Brown, 6 Black, 7 Moore, 8 B. Smith, 9 Mennell, 10 Green, 11 Bretherton, 12 Applegarth, 13 Lindsay. Interchange: 14 Wildie, 15 Hirst, 16 A. Walmsley, 17 L. Walmsley.
T: Applegarth 2, Potts, A. Walmsley, Wildie, Moore 2, L. Walmsley, Brown, Smith, Campbell
G: Moore 9
SWINTON LIONS: 1 R. Hawkyard, 2 Mort, 3 Reay, 4 Armstrong, 5 Penny, 6 Ainscough, 7 Watson, 8 Mills, 9 M. Smith, 10 Morrison, 11 Cunniffe, 12 D. Hawkyard, 13 Forster. Interchange: 14 Holland, 15 Riley, 16 Ashall, 17 I'Anson.
SCORING SEQUENCE: 6-0, 6-6, 12-6, 18-6, 24-6, 28-6, HT, 34-6, 40-6, 46-6, 52-6, 58-6, 62-6
REFEREE: Dave Merrick
MAN OF THE MATCH: Ben Black (Batley Bulldogs)