Batley Bulldogs returned to form with a hard-fought 26-12 win away to Swinton Lions in the Kingstone Press Championship at Heywood Road last Sunday.
Batley went into the game having won just one of their last seven league matches but they bounced back and showed signs that they could challenge for the Championship Shield when the season splits next month.
Batley dominated the first half and built up a 16-0 lead to put them on course for a seventh win of the season.
The opening exchanges were tight as the sides battled for supremacy and Swinton went close to opening the scoring but were pulled back for a forward pass.
Patch Walker returned to the Bulldogs line-up and was influential in helping Batley take the lead.
The stand-off hoisted a kick wide and winger Shaun Ainscough pounced when Swinton failed to deal with the danger to dive over in the corner.
Walker added a terrific touchline conversion.
Swinton tried to hit back and Chris Atkin’s kick looked to have put Rob Lever over but the loose forward was judged offside as Batley survived.
Batley began to dominate as they piled pressure on the home side but had to wait until the 32nd minute to extend their lead as Brad Day went through a huge gap in the Lions defence to score by the posts and give Walker a simple conversion.
Batley added a third try on the stroke of half-time as Ainscough raced away to take them close before Alistair Leak darted over from acting half-back to put the Bulldogs in control.
Swinton began the second half brightly and pulled a try back after just three minutes when the dangerous Atkin sent Anthony Bate over next to the posts, with Atkin tagging on the goal.
The Bulldogs defence repelled a further spell of Swinton pressure before putting the game out of reach with two furthr tries.
Batley moved play left and created space for Danny Cowling to score, with Walker adding his third goal.
Swinton were on attack deep in Batley territory but centre Sam Smeaton intercepted a pass and outpaced the Lions defence on an 80 metre dash to the line as Batley moved 26-6 ahead.
Swinton responded with a consolation try eight minutes from time as Oliver Davies broke through and sent Andy Bracek over between the posts.
Ben White converted but there was little time for Swinton to produce a fight back.
Bate and Bulldogs prop Tom Lillycrop were sin-binned for fighting late in the game before James Harrison looked to have added a sixth Batley try but he was pulled back for a forward pass.
It was a satisfactory performance as Batley collected two welcome points which leaves them seventh in the table ahead of Sunday’s game against Sheffield Eagles, who are just one place and two points above Matt Diskin’s men.