Bulldogs sting Hornets to seal third straight Shield victory
Batley Bulldogs recorded a third straight victory in the Betfred Championship Shield as they overcame struggling Rochdale Hornets 26-12.
Batley trailed 12-10 after an hour but ran in three tries in the final 10 minutes to inflict an eighth straight defeat on Rochdale, who seem set for relegation.
The Bulldogs made a blistering start and led after just five minutes.
They forced a repeat set from their first attack and appeared to have scored when impressive half-back Louis Jouffret sent Wayne Reittie storming away but he was held up over the line.
Batley maintained the pressure and Alistair Leak’s short pass sent Alex Rowe crashing over from close range and Dave Scott converted.
Batley were in dominant mood with Jouffret at the hub of their best moves.
The French half-back produced a lovely kick out wide which was gathered by winger Johnny Campbell to score his fourth try in two games.
Although it was too wide out for Scott to convert, Batley had opened a 10-0 lead inside the opening 10 minutes.
Rochdale responded well and had Batley under pressure for a time.
The Hornets pulled a try back as Daniel Yates moved play left and Lee Mitchell put winger Jack Frost over wide out.
Tyler Whittaker was unable to convert but Rochdale had reduced the half-time deficit to 10-4.
The start of the second half was a little disjointed as both sides were guilty of handling errors.
Scott was off target with a penalty attempt before Toby Adamson broke to set up a Rochdale attack only for them to lose possession when in a good position.
A Dominic Brambani kick was charged down and Fox won the race to gather the ball only to be taken out by a shoulder charge from Dane Manning, who was sent to the sin-bin.
Rochdale took immediate advantage as Morgan Smith, Whittaker and Yates combined and the ball was moved wide for Deon Cross to race over in the corner but again Whittaker was unable to convert.
Rochdale stormed back down the slope and edged ahead while Batley were still down to 12 men.
Toby Adamson held off two Batley defenders and offloaded for Cross to grab his second try in quick succession.
Whittaker couldn’t convert but Rochdale had edged 12-10 ahead and were threatening an unlikely win.
Batley responded well, despite playing up the slope and they scored three quickfire tries in the latter stages to secure victory.
The Bulldogs mounted an attack on the back of Hornets drop out and having moved play right, Patch Walker fed Adam Gledhill, who forced his way over for a try which Walker converted.
Batley grabbed a crucial fourth try in the 74th minute, with James Brown producing a superb piece of play.
Substitute prop Brown kicked to the corner and Reittie surprised the Rochdale defence to pounce for the try.
Walker landed a terrific touchline goal and Batley had taken a 10-point lead.
Batley went on to seal victory a minute from time as they created space for Sam Smeaton to force his way over wide out.
Walker was unable to convert but Batley had done enough to earn a third Shield victory which maintains their third place in the standings.
Batley seek a fourth straight win when they host Sheffield Eagles on Sunday.