Bulldogs maintain pressure on top two
Keighley Cougars 30
Batley Bulldogs 34
BATLEY Bulldogs maintained the pressure on Co-operative Championship front runners Halifax and Featherstone thanks to victory away to play-off rivals Keighley Cougars last Sunday.
The Bulldogs were simply untouchable in the opening 27 minutes when they ran in five tries to build up a 30-0 lead against one of the best defences in the league.
Batley hit the front after just two minutes when Alex Bretherton made a neat break and gifted Danny Maun a simple try, which Gareth Moore converted.
Winger Gareth Potts capitalised on a Keighley error to set up another attack before Moore sent Alex Brown over for a terrific score. Moore again added the goal and Batley led 12-0.
Keighley had little answer to Batley’s scintillating play and Bretherton was on hand to gather Moore’s brilliant kick as the second row scored between the posts and Moore tagged on the simple goal.
Potts showed a terrific turn of pace to race through the Cougars defence and over for the fourth Bulldogs try after just 22 minutes and Moore again converted.
The fantastic start continued as Paul Mennell was held inches short of the line before full-back Johnny Campbell showed the defence a clean pair of heels as he stormed over for another Batley try. Moore landed his fifth goal to extend the lead to 30-0.
However, Batley switched off late in the first half and Keighley replied with two tries before prop Keegan Hirst was sin-binned.
Having come off the bench, player-coach Jason Demetriou produced a lovely pass to send winger Jesse Sheriffe over for a simple try and Danny Lawton added the goal.
Paul March’s deft kick allowed Sam Obst to score Keighley’s second try and Lawton’s goal made it 30-12.
Hirst was sin-binned for persistant offending at the ruck and the Cougars took full advantage when Jy-mel Coleman danced through to score between the posts five minuted into the second half. Lawton added the simple goal.
Prop Mark Applegarth showed a lovely piece of skill to round Lawton and score out wide to ease Batley’s nerve and give them a 16-point lead with 24 minutes remaining.
That was enough to seal winning points for Batley but Keighley fought back late on to grab a bonus point.
Obst evaded the Batley defence to score his second try three minutes from full-time, with Lawton again converting.
For the second game in a row, Batley then conceded a try after the full-time hooter as Richie Barnett crossed in the corner.
Lawton stepped up and landed his fifth goal with the last kick of the game but Batley had done enough to seal victory, which leaves them third in the table ahead of a crucial round of games.