Batley Bulldogs produced a battling performance as they were edged out 28-24 by York City Knights in the Betfred Championship last Sunday.
The Bulldogs were hit by injuries and suspensions but they fought all the way, matching York try for try but in the end it was the successful goalkicking of Knights scrum half Connor Robinson which proved the difference between the sides.
Batley thought they had taken an early lead when Dominic Brambani’s high kick was spilled but they were ruled out for offside.
York broke away through Perry Whiteley and although he was hauled down, Robinson kicked through for Matty Marsh to pounce for the opening try which Robinson converted.
Knights winger Judah Mazive dived in at the corner but his effort was disallowed before Batley responded with a well worked 14th minute try as Brambani’s kick through allowed Johnny Campbell to score at the corner on his 150th appearance for the club but it was too wide out for the conversion to be added.
Lewis Galbraith failed to gather Robinson’s kick and the scrum half regathered to score and put York 10-4 ahead.
Things improved further for the home side as Robinson’s neat kick through allowed Marcus Stock to gather and score by the posts, with Robinson converting.
Batley responded as Michael Ward tipped the ball onto Lewis Bienek and he brushed off several defenders on a barging run to the line, with Dave Scott tagging on the goal.
York struck a crucial blow on the stroke of half-time as former Bulldogs half-back Cain Southernwood broke away from defence to set up an attack which ended with Ronan Dixon scoring, with Robinson’s conversion extending their lead to 22-10.
Batley responded superbly after the break and began their fight back with a lovely worked try after 58 minutes.
Batley moved the ball at speed on the last tackle and Campbell collected the final pass to score his second try at the corner.
York replied with their fifth try of the game as Will Jubb forced his way over from acting half-back and Robinson tagged on his fourth goal to open up a 14-point lead.
Bienek again showed terrific strength to force his way through several York defenders to plant the ball down for his second try, with the successful conversion giving them hope.
Batley had the upper hand and launched another attack on the back of Louis Jouffret’s 40-20 kick.
Jouffret linked with half-back partner Brambani to send Alex Bretherton crashing over for a try on his landmark 200th appearance in Batley colours.
There was no conversion and despite Batley having eight minutes to try and get something from the game, York held on for a narrow win.