How Batley Bulldogs overcame Dewsbury Rams to win Heavy Woollen derby
A dominant display in the second half saw Batley Bulldogs claim bragging rights over Dewsbury in the first Heavy Woollen derby of the season on Thursday night.
The West Yorkshire rivals were locked at 10-10 early in the second half at the Tetley’s Stadium before the Bulldogs ran in six unanswered tries to bring their three-match losing streak to an end in ideal fashion.
The defeat leaves Dewsbury without a win in their last three outings, as they went into the derby on the back of a loss to Newcastle Thunder having drawn with Sheffield Eagles the previous week.
Batley took the lead after 11 minutes when Leeds Rhinos loanee Levi Edwards - who produced a man of the match display - cut through a gap to score under the posts.
Andy Gabriel - who has been in fine try-scoring form this season - levelled for Dewsbury just after 20 minutes when he squeezed over in the corner with Paul Sykes’ superb touchline conversion bringing the sides level.
After some pressure in the final stages of the half, Batley took the lead when Jonny Campbell reached out to ground the ball in the corner.
The hosts responded strongly in the second half and hauled themselves level for a second time when Sykes sent Will Oakes through a gap after Dom Speakman had laid the platform with a darting run.
That proved the Rams’ final score of the evening as Batley regained the lead within three minutes and never looked back.
Jack Blagbrough was the scorer as he went below the tacklers to get the ball down over the whitewash.
Dane Manning made it two tries in two minutes for Batley as he powered over the line to increase the lead.
Another Bulldogs try arrived just after the hour when Alistair Leak dummied his way over from close range.
Dewsbury looked for an avenue back into the contest but never looked like scoring as Batley held firm.
Lewis Carr had a chance to reduce the deficit with just over 10 minutes to play as he raced away following a Batley error but Luke Hooley - who has been a standout player for the Bulldogs this year - made a fantastic tackle and forced a knock on to regain possession.
Batley soon put the result beyond doubt when Leak went over for his second try of the night in similar style to his first.
Edwards claimed his second four-pointer of the game with a minute to play with Hooley adding the touchline conversion to round off a memorable win for the Bulldogs.
Batley return to action this weekend as they host Newcastle Thunder at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium. The Bulldogs emerged as victors when the sides met earlier in the campaign.
Dewsbury will not return to action until August 1 after their trip to Toulouse was cancelled due to Covid-19 regulations.
Dewsbury Rams: Martin, Gabriel, Fleming, Oakes, Carr, Sykes, Finn, Magrin, Day, Garratt, Tomlinson, Knowles, Thornton. Subs: Speakman, Davies, Annakin, Hawksworth.
Batley Bulldogs: Hooley, Campbell, Walshaw, Edwards, Johnson, White, Gilmore, Gledhill, Leak, Everett, Buchanan, Manning, Flynn. Subs: Hall, Morton, Ward, Blagbrough.
Referee: M Mannifield