Bulldogs players help Jamaica to historic draw

Danny Thomas attempts to break through the Wales defence and set up a Jamaica attack during last Fridays international at Belle Vue.
Danny Thomas attempts to break through the Wales defence and set up a Jamaica attack during last Fridays international at Belle Vue.

Batley Bulldogs players Wayne Reittie, Alex Brown, Danny Bravo and new signing from Dewsbury Rams Joel Farrell were part of the Jamaica side who earned a thrilling 16-16 draw against Wales at Wakefield’s Belle Vue last Friday.

Reittie and Brown were up against their former coach John Kear, who was in charge of the Welsh team, while Jamaica also included Danny Thomas, who has strong links with the local area.

Thomas is a former Dewsbury Celtic amateur, who plays for Hunslet Hawks and also runs the T3 Well Being Centre on Bradford Road, which both Dewsbury and Batley used as part of their pre-season training regimes last season.

Jamaica team manager is Dewsbury coach Glenn Morrison, who was full of praise for the Reggae Warriors.

Morrison said: “We’ve come a long in the few months we’ve been together and in the (last) couple of games.

“We dug deep, were pretty solid defensively and had each other’s back, especially when we were a man down. The character in the bunch to put that aside and come back for the equalising score said everything about us.

“To come out with a result like that, I don’t think anybody expected it, we’ve got to take a lot of positives and hopefully get more exposure, especially back in the island where they’ll realise we can play rugby and are not just sprinters, there are some really good athletes that play over there.

“We wanted to establish credibility and be competitive in international games, a lot of Super League players qualify and I’ve already had a few of them wanting to be involved leading up to World Cups.”

Kear’s Wales side were using the match as part of their build up to this week’s World Cup qualifier in Italy.

Wales took the lead with a Rhodri Lloyd unconverted try but Jamaica hit back as Doncaster winger Aaron Jones-Bishop collected a high kick to score in the corner.

One time Dewsbury half-back Jy-Mel Coleman converting and the Reggae Warriors led 6-4.

Courtney Davies forced his way over to edge Wales back in front but Jones-Bishop grabbed his second just before the break and Coleman’s goal saw Jamaica 12-8 ahead at the break.

Scrum-half Lloyd White darted over and Courtney Davies converted to put Wales back in front.

Coleman missed the chance to level when he was just short with a long range penalty attempt before Davies landed a penalty at the other end to stretch the lead to 16-12.

In a dramatic finale, Jamaica captain Reittie produced a lovely offload to send Jones-Bishop sprinting to dive over for a try at the corner.

Coleman’s conversion attempt was agonisingly wide but Jamaica celebrated the terrific achievement of earning a draw against a Wales side who will qualify for next year’s World Cup if they beat Italy in Monza on Saturday.

Wales: Kear; Newbury, Gay, Roets, Evans; Davies, White; Dudson, Parry, Walker, Lloyd, Morris, Burke. Subs: Williams, Fozard, Evans, Farrer.

Tries: Lloyd (11), Davies (30), White (67).

Goals: White 0/2, Davies 2/2.

Jamaica: Reittie; Barnett, A Brown, Bowman, Jones-Bishop; Coleman, Thomas; Sheriffe, Farrell, Andrade, Bravo, Agoro, Hanson. Subs: Tomlinson, Williams, Goodall, Peltier.

Tries: Jones-Bishop (23, 37, 78)

Goals: Coleman 2/4.

Referee: Joe Cobb.

Attendance: 1,378