Johnson bags hat-trick in Bulldogs win

Batley Bulldogs returned to winning ways in the Kingstone Press Championship overcoming Swinton Lions 36-6 in Sunday’s re-arranged game.

Victory saw John Kear’s men rise to third in the table, a point behind Featherstone Rovers and four adrift of leaders Halifax as the Championship continues to provide entertainment and competitiveness.

Greg Johnson was star of the show as he grabbed a hat-trick of tries as Batley ran away with things in the second half, having only led 12-0 at the break.

Byron Smith was tackled close to the line early on following an excellent break by George Flanagan but there was little between the sides in the opening quarter and it took 21 minutes for Batley to break the deadlock.

Johnny Campbell intercepted and raced 60 metres to set up the field position and after a strong run from Ayden Faal, Johnson crossed for his first try and Gareth Moore converted.

Faal again turned provider soon after, sending Keegan Hirst storming over following another break and Moore again tagged on the goal.

Three minutes after the break, Batley struck again when Richie Hawkyard failed to gather Moore’s kick and Johnson reacted quickest to score an unconverted try.

Faal got a deserved try after 50 minutes and Moore’s conversion put Batley well on course for victory as they led 22-0.

Ben Black jinked his way over soon after and Moore again tagged on the goal.

Martin Ainscough looked to have replied for Swinton when he intercepted a pass and raced 80 metres to the line only to have the try ruled out when it was judged Kevin Penny had impeded Gareth Potts.

Josh Barlow barged over from close range after 64 minutes, with Gareth O’Brien converting but Batley finished strongly and piled pressure on the Lions line.

Flanagan was held up on three separate occasions before Moore and Potts linked to finally break the Lions brave resistance and send Johnson over for his hat-trick, with Moore converting.

Swinton lost their discipline late on and a fracas was penalised and Tom Hemingway slotted over the goal.