Batley Bulldogs coach 'fuming' over decision not to delay kick-off ahead of victory over Newcastle Thunder

BATLEY BULLDOGS head coach Craig Lingard has hit out at the decision not to delay the kick-off in their victory over Newcastle Thunder on Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 1:34 pm
FUMING: Batley Bulldogs head coach Craig Lingard. Picture: Ed Sykes\SWpix.com.

The Bulldogs team coach broke down en route to the north east, meaning Batley arrived just 25 minutes before the scheduled kick-off time.

Lingard had asked for just an extra 15 minutes to allow his side to adequately warm-up but he claims that the decision was taken by the broadcasters, Our League, to kick off as planned.

The Bulldogs boss was left "fuming" by that call and he criticised the lack of regard for player welfare after his side had been stuck on a bus for four hours.

Batley went on to record a 28-16 victory to make it three league wins in a row and, given the circumstances, Lingard felt it was the Bulldogs' best performance of the season.

"We broke down on the way to the ground, we left at 8.30am but didn't get to Newcastle until 12.35pm and the game was meant to kick off at 1pm but they wouldn't put the kick-off time back. I was absolutely fuming, to be honest," he said.

"They expect players to get off the bus, changed, strapped and warmed up in 25 minutes. It is absolutely ludicrous.

"They bang on about player welfare and player safety and then they treat players like that. I think it is disgusting to make players play without an effective warm-up.

"To start the way we did was great. It is very difficult to get off a bus, get your kit on and go straight onto a field.

"After what we went through, that was my best performance of the season."

The victory saw Batley remain third in the Championship table after four games, with their only league defeat coming at the hands of promotion favourites Featherstone Rovers on the opening weekend.

Lingard added: "We showed a different side to ourselves this week. We had to battle really hard for the victory.

"A few more questions were asked and answered about the type of group that we are. There is a mental toughness that seems to be there now.

"I am very pleased with how they performed yesterday."

Batley will look to make it four consecutive league wins on Friday night when they travel to take on Sheffield Eagles at Doncaster's Keepmoat Stadium.