Sheffield Eagles 18 Batley Bulldogs 30 - Bulldogs win fourth game in a row
BATLEY BULLDOGS have won four league games in a row for the first time since 2016 as they recorded a fine comeback win over Sheffield Eagles in Doncaster on Friday night.
Trailing by eight points midway through the second half, the Bulldogs showed immense character to score four tries in the final 20 minutes to make it four wins from five Championship games this year.
The two sides above them in the table, joint-title favourites Toulouse Olympique and Featherstone Rovers, have two games in hand over the Bulldogs but few would have expected this start from Craig Lingard’s side.
They have averaged just over 35 points scored per game so far and, if they can continue in this vain, will start thinking at a play-off tilt with the top six teams earning a spot in the post-season fixtures this year.
After a nervy start, Batley had started to control the encounter and it didn’t take long for Craig Lingard’s side to hit the front.
The ball was shifted left and Kieran Buchanan did superbly to find Luke Hooley with an offload for the full-back to plant down and open the scoring.
A goal-line dropout and a penalty at the other end then gave Sheffield a chance to threaten and Rob Worrincy got his side on the board as he spun out of the tackles to score in the right corner.
Batley soon went back in front, however, as Tom Gilmore burst through a gap and strode underneath the posts from halfway. The away side went in leading at the interval but were behind within a minute of the second-half restart.
A knock on from the Bulldogs allowed Sheffield to work it wide to Worrincy who showed great footwork to deceive the defence for his 200th career try.
Sheffield continue to dominate the opening quarter of the second period and extended their advantage when Hooley failed to deal with a grubber and Jordan Bull plunged on the loose ball.
Hooley had done well to defuse Sheffield’s attacking kicks for the majority of the contest and soon atoned for his error as he slid over the whitewash for his second try of the night just after the hour.
Batley continued with their strong response as on a last-tackle play, Dane Manning received the ball and shook off several defenders to stretch out for a try on the right flank.
An unsuccessful conversion meant there was just two points behind the sides but that was extended to six when Johnny Campbell nipped over in the right corner.
Victory was sealed a minute from time when Elliot Hall burst clear to score by the posts to spark the celebrations.
Sheffield Eagles: Guzdek, Worrincy, Johnson, Glover, Millar, Farrell, Thackeray, Wheeldon, Burns, James, Davies, Mariano, Brown. Subs: Davey, Dickinson, Knowles, Bull.
Batley Bulldogs: Hooley, Campbell, Morton, Logan, Broughton, White, Gilmore, Gledhill, Kaye, Blagborough, Buchanan, Manning, Walshaw. Subs: Hall, Leak, Ward, Lillycrop.
Referee: G. Hewer