Bulldogs strike late to seal Yorkshire Cup Final place
Batley Bulldogs booked their place in next week's Yorkshire Cup Final after recording a dramatic 22-18 victory over York City Knights last Sunday.
Batley fought back from 18-0 down to run in 22 unanswered points and ensure they will face Bradford Bulls at Mount Pleasant this week.
York had the better of the first half, playing with the slops and a fierce wind at their backs.
For long periods, the Bulldogs defence looked to have restricted the Knights but two tries in the space of two minutes gave York the advantage.
York led after nine minutes thanks to a terrific try which saw Jason Bass break on the right and feed Perry Whiteley.
The winger cut inside before slipping the ball to Matty Marsh and he in turn moved play on to Ben Cockayne, with the half back sending Will Jubb racing to the line for a brilliant long range effort which Connor Robinson converted.
York almost extended their lead as Robinson broke through the defence but his long pass was too high for winger Judah Mazive to gather.
Batley attempted to hit back but Louis Jouffret’s kick towards the line was pounced on by Laim Salter.
The game sprang to the life just before half-time with three tries in the space of four minutes.
York prop Graeme Horne sold a dummy and the Bulldogs defence opened up for the veteran prop to race through and over for a try to the right of the posts. Robinson converted.
Moments later Cockayne broke as York attacked again and he slipped the ball inside for supporting full-back Marsh to canter over and Robinson’s third goal put the visitors 18-0 ahead.
Batley hit back on the stroke of half-time as they rumbled upfield on the back of a penalty and Alistair Leak bounced out off a tackle to crash over to the right of the posts and Dave Scott converted with the last kick of the half to give Batley hope.
Batley began the second half superbly and stormed down the slope before moving the ball quickly left for winger Johnny Campbell to dive in at the corner.
Dominic Brambani then kicked over the top and Lewis Galbraith gathered to score, with Jouffret converting to reduce the arrears to 18-16 after 44 minutes.
Batley piled on the pressure but were thwarted by excellent York defence as Paul Brearley and Dane Manning were both held up over the line.
A towering Brambani kick was allowed to bounce but the ball was judged to have rolled dead before Campbell could ground it.
York almost sealed victory but Salter was judged held up over the line having collected Cockayne’s neat short pass.
In a dramatic finale, Reece Rushworth was sent to the sin bin after York had been put on a team warning.
Batley launched the resulting penalty downfield and Tyler Dickinson crashed between the posts three minutes from full-time.
Jouffret converted before Batley wound down the clock to seal a cup final spot.
Batley Bulldogs: Scott; Reittie, Smeaton, Wood, Campbell; Jouffret, Brambani; Everett, Leak, Dickinson, Downs, Manning, Tomlinson. Subs: J Brown, Galbraith, Hemingway, Bretherton, Ward, Yates, Brearley.
York City Knights: Marsh; Mazive, Bass, Hey, Whiteley; Cockayne, Robinson; Horne, Jubb, Teanby, Kelly, Salter, Peterson. Subs: Robson, Jordan-Roberts, Rushworth, Stock, K Brown.
Referee: Jack Smith.