Featherstone Rovers 28 Batley Bulldogs 18 - Hosts hold on despite spirited fightback
FEATHERSTONE ROVERS saw off a second-half fightback from Batley Bulldogs to open their Championship campaign with a victory.
Despite the defeat, the performance gives the Bulldogs encouragement for the season ahead, who for two weeks running have pushed a Rovers side littered with ex-Super League players all the way.
The first try came after 17 minutes when former Wakefield Trinity and Salford Red Devils player Craig Kopczak plunged over to open the scoring.
Another of Rovers' off-season signings, Kris Welham, was next over the whitewash as he extended the hosts lead with a four-pointer on 20 minutes.
The Bulldogs responded well to the setback, with Elliot Hall planting down two minutes later to reduce the deficit to four points.
The home side extended their advantage with two more tries before half time. First, Frankie Halton crossed with six minutes remaining of the half before Nu Brown glided through the Batley defence for a fine try just before the interval.
Hometown talent Gareth Gale put the game out of Batley's reach with a fine finish eight minutes into the second half.
The Bulldogs kept their hosts honest, however, as Lucas Walshaw took a high kick from Tom Gilmore to score Batley's second try of the night.
Ex-Castleford Tigers player Junior Moors scored his first try for Featherstone moments later, crashing over from short range.
The visitors kept battling and set up a tense finish with 10 minutes remaining as Jack Logan was sent over between the posts by Ben White.
Featherstone held out to start their campaign with a win as they aim for promotion to Super League while Batley showed they could be the competition's surprise package this season.