BATLEY BULLDOGS retained the Roy Powell Trophy – and moved three points clear of their neighbours on the table – with a second win of the season over Dewsbury Rams.
The 30-14 success at the Summer Bash in Blackpool was much more straightforward than Bulldogs’ 20-8 win at Dewsbury on Good Friday, when they hit back from 8-0 down despite playing for most of the game with 12 men and a spell down to 11.
Batley got a grip on the clash with two tries in the opening 12 minutes and while Dewsbury weren’t overrun, they never really threatened to pull the game from the fire.
Neither team hit their stride in a match which was contested fiercely, but scrappy and fought out largely up the middle.
It only really burst into life in the final five minutes which, remarkably, produced four tries – two to each side.
Bulldogs always looked the stronger side and when Rams finally found their attacking feet it was too late.
Batley’s first try, after five minutes, was a mixture of fortunate and spectacular.
Alistair Leak’s pass hit the ground, but was picked up by Keenan Tomlinson and he applied an acrobatic finish to dive over at the corner.
Their second, seven minutes later, came from some quick thinking by Jonny Campbell who spotted an opportunity from acting-half 15 metres out and scooted through the defensive line, though Rams should have made a better job of keeping him out.
Louis Jouffret added the extras and Rams’ problems increased soon afterwards when they lost Callum Field – their 21-year-old loose-forward on loan from Wigan Warriors – to a leg injury.
At that stage Batley were comfortably in command, but Dewsbury dug in and got themselves back into the contest before half-time.
The opening two tries came after Bulldogs had been gifted field position from a penalty and possession off a Rams error.
The situation was reversed midway through the half when Dave Scott hurled a wild pass forward in front of his own posts and in the resulting set Dewsbury scored a try similar to Rams’ first.
Michael Knowles’ pass was picked up on the half-volley by Adam Ryder and he supplied Andrew Gabriel who dived over in the left corner.
There was a suspicion he might have had a hand on the touchline before he got the ball down, but – with no video referee – the try was awarded.
The only other tryscoring opportunity, for either team, came three minutes before the interval when Rams tapped a kickable penalty and Sam Day forced his way over the line, but Joe Taira held him up. Batley moved two scores clear eight minutes into the second half when Jouffret kicked a 30-metre penalty after a high tackle by Day on Michael Ward.
Batley had a chance to go further in front moments later when Sam Wood made a good catch from Dom Brambani’s kick, but he fumbled the ball over the line.
With the game drifting away from them, Rams began to give the ball more air and they made some progress down the flanks with Ryder twice threatening the line – the second of those runs being halted by a thunderous Sam Smeaton tackle.
That was a key moment in the game as Batley countered to score their third try moments later, Paul Brearley’s one-handed carry proving too strong for Rams’ left-side defence.
On 75 minutes Leak twisted over from acting-half and in the next set Brearley made a break and Scott was on his shoulder to score. Jouffret converted both and at 30-4 the scoreline flattered Bulldogs.
But then Michael Knowles went over from close range and moments later Day ended the game with a moment of outstanding class, chipping over full-back Scott and running through to touch down, Liam Finn converting.
Batley Bulldogs: Scott, Tomlnson, Smeaton, Wood, Campell, Jouffret, Brambani, Gledhill, Leak, Everett, Brearley, Manning, J Brown. Subs Bienek, Butterworth, Taira, Ward.
Dewsbury Rams: Hooley, Warrincy, Morton, Ryder, Gabriel, S Brown, Finn, Kibula, Mackay, Kilner, Walshaw, Knowles, Field. Subs Day, Igbinedion, Garratt, Andrade.
Referee: Matt Rossleigh (London).