Batley strike late to earn beat Rovers

Alex Rowe looks to set up a Bulldogs attack against Featherstones Jack Ormandroyd. Pictures: Paul Butterfield.
Alex Rowe looks to set up a Bulldogs attack against Featherstones Jack Ormandroyd. Pictures: Paul Butterfield.

Batley Bulldogs earned their first win in the First Utility Qualifiers last Sunday, edging past fellow part time side Featherstone Rovers 11-10.

Wayne Reittie’s second try 11 minutes from full-time was enough to secure victory, while Dominic Brambani’s drop goal just before half-time also proved crucial for the Bulldogs.

Both teams went into the game having lost their opening three matches in the middle eights and it was Batley, playing up the Mount Pleasant slope, who struck first after 14 minutes.

Alex Brown had an effort ruled out due to a knock-on by Chris Ulugia in the build up but moments later Reittie struck the first blow.

Jordan Baldwinson lost possession to gift Batley possession.

Adam Gledhill kicked on the last tackle and centre Shaun Squires hacked the ball on for Reittie to touch down.

Rovers hit back to level after 15 minutes when former Dewsbury half-back Anthony Thackeray’s kick was fumbled by Alex Brown and Luke Briscoe was on hand to grab an unconverted try.

Danny Craven and Ian Hardman combined to put James Duckworth over for a 38th minute try.

Batley regained possession following a short kick off and, as the half-time hooter sounded, quick thinking Brambani slotted over a drop goal to reduce the arrears to 8-5.

Dave Scott was heavily involved in the early stages of the second half as he was held up over the line at one end and was then on hand to produce a try saving tackle on Thackeray at the other.

Unfortunately, Scott was penalised for holding down and Jamie Foster slotted over the resulting goal.

Featherstone’s defence appeared to be keeping Batley at bay but Brambani’s 40-20 set up a crucial Bulldogs attack.

Brambani’s dangerous kick on the last tackle was initially gathered by Foster only for the winger to then lose possession.

From the resulting scrum Walker and Brambani linked well before former Featherstone man Sam Smeaton sent Reittie diving in at the corner to put Batley a point ahead.

Featherstone attempted to hit back late on but turned down the opportunity to go for an equalising drop goal as Batley deservedly held out.

Alistair Leak was denied a try following an excellent long range break but Batley had done enough to collect their first win in the qualifiers.

There was a further boost to the Bulldogs as finishing seventh would be worth an additional £50,000 in prize money, although the delight shown by the Batley players at full-time was priceless.