Batley Bulldogs 56 Sheffield Eagles 12: Bulldogs all-but secure play-off spot
Craig Lingard was delighted by Batley Bulldogs’ “clinical” display against Sheffield Eagles as they all-but secured their place in the Championship play-offs with an emphatic win on Sunday afternoon.
With time running out and Batley sitting comfortably in fifth, it will take nothing short a sporting miracle for them to finish outside the top six at this stage.
Greg Johnson, who scored a hat-trick against the Eagles, opened the scoring at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium as the hosts took a 20-6 lead going into half time.
The Bulldogs dominated the second period to score another 36 points as they remained well on course to seal a top-six finish.
“I thought we were really clinical, particularly late on in the second half as there was a period when Sheffield went down to 12 men and we took advantage of that,” reflected head coach Lingard.
“I think we did the work up the hill defensively in the first half and our goal-line defence, as it has been in recent weeks, was really good.
"There are a few little things we need to fix up but if you had given me that score at the start of the day I would have snatched your hands off.”
After opening the scoring, Johnson scored his second try to extend the Bulldog’s first-half lead before James Davey hit back for the Eagles.
Dale Morton responded with a third Batley try on 33 minutes before Lucas Walshaw extended the lead on the stroke of half time.
Luke Hooley weaved his way through the Eagles defence to score Batley’s fifth try of the afternoon on 49 minutes.
The hosts were just getting started as Walshaw went over for his second before Hooley followed suit soon after.
Olly Davies replied for Sheffield but that proved their final score as the Bulldogs dominated the final quarter.
Nyle Flynn barged through a two-man tackle to get over the whitewash and with five minutes remaining Johnson completed his hat-trick.
Johnny Campbell sealed the victory with the final try of the afternoon as Batley celebrated their 12th win of the league season.
Lingard added: “We were three scores up at half time. You would take any lead at half time after going up the hill.
“Sheffield were busted, they were missing quite a few players, so we knew if we rolled them down the middle and played fast that we might get a little bit of joy in the second half - which is what happened.”