Bulldogs sting Hornets to seal win treble

Shaun Ainscough bagged a 37th minute try which helped Batley take a 12-10 interval lead.
Shaun Ainscough bagged a 37th minute try which helped Batley take a 12-10 interval lead.

Batley Bulldogs recorded a third win of the season over Rochdale Hornets last Sunday as they returned from Spotland 34-14 victors.

The win sees Batley consolidate second place in the Kingstone Press Championship Shield and are now guaranteed a top four finish and a place in the semi-finals with five games still to play.

Referee Tom Grant handed out four cards as Rochdale were reduced to 10 men midway through the second half.

Gary Middlehurst and Jason Crooks were sent off following a fracas after a Batley try, while Ben Moores was sin-binned for his part in the melee incident, while Jordan Case was also shown a yellow card soon after.

Batley had an early effort ruled out for a forward pass and it was Rochdale who took an eighth minute lead when good build up play saw Lewis Foster and Josh Crowley combine and the ball was worked out to Jake Eccleston on the right, who dummied his way over for the opening score.

The try was too wide out for Danny Yates but the scrum half was on target with a penalty goal soon after.

Batley capitalised on a Hornets infringement as the penalty gave them good field position and the ball moved right for Dave Scott to race over wide out.

Patch Walker added a terrific goal to level matters.

Batley were placed on a team warning after conceding a succession of penalties and Rochdale took advantage as the ball was moved right for winger Kev Penny to leap in and touch down by the corner flag.

Yates was unable to add the goal from the touchline.

Batley defended well to repel further Hornets pressure and having weathered the storm, the Bulldogs struck back to edge ahead three minutes before the interval.

A neat attacking move was finished off with a Shaun Ainscough try and Walker added the extras to edge the Bulldogs in front at half-time.

The start of the second half was littered by handling errors from both sides

An up and under wasn’t dealt with by Hornets full-back Dec Kay and from the resulting possession, Batley piled on the pressure.

Rochdale conceded three penalties and Batley made the home side pay, moving the ball out wide for Alex Bretherton to score an acrobatic try, leaping in the air to plant the ball down one handed by the corner flag.

Walker added a superb touchline goal and stretched the Bulldogs lead to 18-10.

Walker was involved in Batley’s next try, kicking through for Jason Crooks to win the race and touch down but a mass brawl broke out involving players from both sides.

When order was restored, Middlehurst and Crookes were sent off, while Moores was sin binned.

Rochdale were then reduced to 10 men when Jordan Case was also sin-binned.

Despite being down to 10 men, Rochdale showed their attack qualities as Chris Riley burst throught to create an overlap for Yates to crash over and reduce the deficit to 22-14.

Batley hit back to capitalise on the numerical advantage.

They Bulldogs were awarded three consecutive penalties close to the Hornets line and the pressure finally paid off when they created an overlap and Bretherton dummied past the full-back to grab his second try of the match, which Walker improved.

Rochdale attempted to hit back but a Yates chip through was scooped up by a Batley player before Joel Farrell broke the depleted defence and fed Scott, who raced over between the posts to cap the win.

Walker added a fifth goal of the afternoon as Batley completed a hat-trick of victories over the Hornets.