Batley Bulldogs show play-off credentials with dramatic win over York City Knights
BATLEY BULLDOGS head coach Craig Lingard is happy to let his players dream of a play-off place after they recorded their seventh win of the season with a dramatic 22-20 victory at York City Knights on Sunday.
The Bulldogs secured a late win thanks to Lucas Walshaw’s try in the final minutes of the contest.
The victory moved Batley up to third in the Championship table but Lingard insists he is still focused on making sure the club achieves their first target of the season - avoiding relegation.
“It is difficult at times to keep the players’ feet on the ground with the way we are playing,” he said. “As long as we are working hard, let the players dream. Myself as a coach and the coaching group just want to tick the games off as we go.
“Our first goal is still to avoid relegation and I think we are in a decent place to do that now.”
The victory was Batley’s third in a row and second consecutive away from home. It is also the third game in a row that the Bulldogs have come from behind to win.
“There is a togetherness and they have got some resilience,” said Lingard of his players.
“We really questioned the players after the first friendly against Featherstone and since that game they have turned up.
“Even in games when we haven’t played well, you can’t fault their effort, you can’t fault their application - they are just a great bunch of players to work with.”
Tries from Luke Hooley and Jodie Broughton had given Batley a 10-0 lead at half time on Sunday.
York responded strongly in the second half, scoring three unanswered tries via Ben Jones-Bishop and two from Kieran Dixon.
Broughton hauled Batley back into the contest as he scored immediately after Jones-Bishop had been sin-binned for a professional foul.
Dixon added a penalty goal with 10 minutes left to edge York four points in front but with five minutes to go Dane Manning offloaded to Walshaw who plunged over on the right.
Hooley was on target with the conversion as Batley defended their line valiantly to hold on for the win.
“It is easy to roll over when you concede 18 points without reply but we found a way and came back,” added Lingard.
“I thought Dane Manning had blown that try when he tried to dummy the full-back and got whacked. Luckily he managed to get the offload and Lucas got the ball down, it was a great end for Batley fans and Batley players more so than then York fans.”
Lingard has been delighted with his side’s away form this season.
The Bulldogs’ only loss away from home in the Championship came on the opening day against Featherstone Rovers - who have started their season with nine-straight victories.
“We always said our home form would be paramount to what we do in the league but at the minute we are managing to tick off the wins away from home,” he added.
“We were fully aware of how important this game was. York are just one place outside the play-offs and we knew if they beat us they would start dragging us back towards the chasing pack a bit.”
Batley are back on home soil this weekend as they welcome in-form Halifax Panthers to the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium on Sunday afternoon.