Batley Bulldogs 36 Rochdale Hornets 18: Bulldogs ease into 1895 Cup quarter-finals

Dominic Brambani scored a try on his 100th appearance for Batley Bulldogs.
Dominic Brambani scored a try on his 100th appearance for Batley Bulldogs.

Batley Bulldogs booked their place in the 1895 Cup quarter-finals with a 36-18 victory over Rochdale Hornets.

Batley only led 16-12 at half-time having played down the Mount Pleasant slope but they blew Rochdale away with a four-try blast in the opening quarter of the second period to ease into the last eight.

It was an emotional day for everyone connected with the Batley club as they paid tribute to Beverley Nicholas — wife of one of rugby league’s longest serving chairmen Kevin — who passed away last week.

Beverley helped found the Bulldogs Pink Weekend, which has raised in the region of £100,000 for breast chancer charities over a number of years.

Many Bulldogs supporters, together with coach Matt Diskin, wore pink shirts in tribute to Beverley and the team delivered on the field.

Batley made the perfect start and led after just four minutes as Dominic Brambani, Jack Downs and Dave Scott were all held close to the line before James Brown collected a neat short pass to crash over for the opening try.

However, any thoughts Batley would run away with things against a side lying bottom the Championship were put on held as Rochdale hit back.

The Hornets launched an attack on the back of a Batley drop out and Zac Baker raced through the defence and over between the posts, with Daniel Abram converting.

Batley regained the lead when Brambani produced a long pass to Downs, who slipped to neat pass to send Lewis Galbraith over for a try which Lewis Jouffret converting.

Rochdale again responded as they moved play left and although the ball went to ground, Brandon Wood scooped it up, darted for the line and stretched over, with the try awarded despite Bulldogs claims of a double movement. Abram converted.

Lewis Bienek had a try ruled out having lost the ball when stretching for the line but Batley edged in front on the stroke of half-time when Brambani’s crossfield kick found Downs in acres of space and he collected to score a simple try which Jouffret improved.

Batley clicked into gear at the start of the second half and ran in four try in the space of 15 minutes to kill the tie off.

Dane Manning was held short following a strong drive before Alistair Leak darted over from acting half-back to plant the ball down but Jouffret pulled his conversion attempt wide.

Brambani then slipped a lovely pass to send Downs racing through and the scrum-half was on hand to collect the return pass and race over for a try on his 100th appearance for the Bulldogs. Jouffret converted.

Brambani was involved again soon after as he moved play left and Manning stormed over for a try which Jouffret converted.

Batley were too hot for Rochdale to handle and grabbed a fourth try in quick succession when Shaun Ainscough knocked on when attempting to intercept Brambani’s pass.

Jouffret scooped up the loose ball and held off a Rochdale tackler on his way to the line and the Frenchman tagged on his fifth goal to put the Bulldogs out of sight at 38-12.

Former Batley favourite Ainscough responded with a consolation try for Rochdale wide on the right and Abram landed a fine conversion but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Bulldogs securing their place in the quarter-finals.

Batley Bulldogs: Scott; Tomlinson, Galbraith, S Wood, Campbell; Jouffret, Brambani; Gledhill, Leak, Everett, Downs, Manning, Brown, Subs: Bienek, Brearley, Taira, Ward.

Rochdale Hornets: Abram; Ainscough, Morris, B Wood, Kay; Barker, Thomas; Marriott, C Wood, Mitchell, Johnson, Gillam, Robson. Subs: Carberry, Coleman, Gregory, Gleeson.

Referee: Billy Pearson.