Batley seal terrific win in Cumbria

James Brown on the charge for Batley against Whitehave, Picture: Andy Winner.
James Brown on the charge for Batley against Whitehave, Picture: Andy Winner.
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Batley Bulldogs dreams of securing a place in the Kingstone Press Championship top four are very much alive following a 16-8 victory at Whitehaven last Saturday.

Batley were forced to make a late change when winger Alex Brown was taken ill on the coach to Cumbria.

Phone calls were made to draft Shaun Ainscough into the squad after recovering from an ankle injury sustained in the Summer Bash win over Dewsbury in May.

Batley had a spell of early pressure but Haven’s defence remained solid and it was the home side who took a 10th minute lead.

Back-to-back penalties put Haven on attack and Thomas Coyle fed half-back partner Grant Gore, who showed neat footwork to skip over for a try on the left but it was too wide out for Paul Brocklebank to convert.

Haven prop Ted Chapelhow was sin-binned for holding down after both captains were spoken to following a succession of penalties.

Batley capitalised on the man advantage to level as James Brown received the ball from the tap penalty and barged his way over to score.

Pat Walker missed the chance to edge Batley ahead as his conversion attempt was wide.

Gore had chance to regain Whitehaven’s lead just before half-time when he raced away only to be caught by speedy Batley winger Wayne Reittie and it remained 4-4 at the break.

Batley hit the front with a well-worked try after 50 minutes.

Tom Lillycrop drove the Bulldogs into a good field position and Dominic Brambani showed great vision to produce a lovely kick behind the defence which Reittie gathered to score. Walker landed a superb touchline goal.

Batley maintained the pressure and extended their lead on the hour mark.

James Brown set up another attack when he broke through and raced 40 metres before being hauled down.

From the play the ball, Cain Southernwood’s neat short pass sent Adam Gledhill storming over the line.

Walker converted and Batley had a 12-point lead heading into the final quarter.

Whitehaven grabbed a second try soon after when a neat passing move was ended when Connor Holliday fed Craig Calvert and he evaded Brambani’s tackle and score out wide but Brocklehurst was unable to convert.

Batley held on to secure a seventh win in their last eight matches and with Bradford being edged out at leaders Leigh, the Bulldogs have a three point lead over the Bulls with three matches of the regular season remaining.