Bulldogs prove too strong for determined Keighley

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Batley Bulldogs ran in seven tries as they recorded a 38-12 victory over Keighley Cougars in their second pre-season friendly.

The Bulldogs produced some impressive attacking rugby, with James Davey having a hand in their opening three tries before scoring the fourth himself.

Coach Matt Diskin was also impressed with Batley’s defensive effort as they restricted Keighley to just two tries at the end of each half.

After a scrappy opening, the game came to life in the 12th minute when Shaun Squires went close to scoring in the right corner following a fierce drive and neat offload by Alex Rowe.

Batley forced the Cougars to drop out and from the resulting attack Davey fed Dominic Brambani and his lovely short pass sent Mikey Hayward through a gap and over for the opening try, with Patch Walker landing a terrific conversion from wide out.

Davey’s short pass sent Alex Bretherton bouncing off a defender and over for Batley’s second try, which Walker improveed bedfore Davey moved play right for Macauley Hallett to storm over as the Bulldogs led 16-0.

Davey then scored a crackinbg individual try when he broke from acting half-back, shimmied past a defender and side stepped the full-back to plant the ball down. Walker tagged on his third goal and Batley were in control.

Keighley struck back on the stroke of half-time when Matty Beharrell stabbed the ball towards the try line. Squires was adament he had grounded the ball behind the line before Andy Gabrial pounced but referee Harry Neville awarded the try, which Beharrell converted.

Batley made a terrific start to the second half, running in three tries in then opening 12 minutes to emphasise their dominance.

James Brown marked his return from a close season operation when the powerful forward barged his way to the line and Cain Southernwood took over the kicking duties to convert.

Batley moved play right and new signing Dane Manning forced his way over for the Bulldogs sixth try.

Manning then broke the Cougars defensive line before offloading to Brambaning, who in turn sent Joe Chandler scrambling over the line and Southernwood converted to extend the lead to 38-6.

Keighley’s defence tightened up to prevent Batley adding further tries and the Cougars also had some good moments on attack.

Adam Ryder appeared on course to score when he produced an acrobatic dive for the left corner but Danny Cowling made a superb tackle to take him into touch.

Keighley were finally rewarded with a 78th minute consolation try when impressive loose forward Mike Emmett put Scott Law over at the side of the posts and Adam Brook converted.

Batley had done enough to seal a second friendly success and will aim to make it a hat-trick when Castleford Tigers visit Mount Pleasant on Friday night.