Bulldogs dealt blow as old boys shine for Eagles
Batley Bulldogs slipped to a fourth defeat in five Betfred Championship games last Friday as they went down 44-16 at Sheffield Eagles.
Batley started brightly and led 10-0 after the opening quarter but struggled to contain the Eagles once the home side clicked into gear and they went on to concede eight tries.
Sheffield included four former Bulldogs in their side and second row man Joel Farrell was among their try scorers, while Patch Walker kicked six goals from eight attempts.
Batley made a bright start and led after just three minutes as they took play close to the line and Louis Jouffret — back in Bulldogs starting line-up — produced a neat short pass to send Sam Wood over for an unconverted try.
Dave Scott extended the lead to 6-0 with a penalty short after.
The early exchanges were, at times, feisty with Farrell often in the thick of the action, while Dane Manning and Sheffield’s Brad Knowles spent time in the sin-bin following a skirmish.
Shortly after, Batley produced another neat move to the right and Wood kicked through, with Jack Downs winning the scramble for the loose ball to touch down.
Sheffield began to get a foothold in the game and struck twice in the build up to half-time to take the lead.
James Glover — one of a number of former Dewsbury Rams players in the Sheffield line-up — crashed through the Batley line to score and ex Bulldog Walker converted.
Just a minute before half-time, scrum-half Anthony Thackeray broke through and sold a dummy on his way to the line, with Walker’s conversion putting the Eagles 12-10 ahead at the break.
Sheffield upped the tempo in the second half and went on to score a further six tries in a dominant display.
Sheffield produced a number of quick plays to get into a good field position, where Ben Blackmore kicked inside from a good field position and Blake Broadbent gathered to score between the posts, with Walker converting.
Five minutes later, Sheffield were back on attack and Farrell forced his way over for Sheffield’s fourth try which Walker again improved.
Manning was sent to the sin-bin for a second time following a high tackle on former teammate Farrell and it was while Batley were down to 12 men that the Eagles took advantage.
Oliver Davies crossed after 56 minutes, with Walker converting, before Blackmore added an unconverted try to stretch the lead to 34-10.
Blackmore added his second try in the corner, before Sam Smeaton scored a consolation for Batley following neat work at acting half-back by Hemingway.
Paddy Burns rounded off Sheffield’s win with an 80th minute try which Walker improved.