Disappointing Bulldogs suffer heavy defeat at hands of Eagles
Batley Bulldogs produced a woeful defensive display as they conceded nine tries in slipping to a 54-24 at home to Sheffield Eagles.
Batley did have a purple patch late in the first half when they reduced the arrears from 18-0 to pull within one score but they were unable to capitalise and Sheffield completely dominated after the break.
Batley had made a terrible start to the game, which set the tone for the defeat, as they conceded three tries in the opening quarter.
Sheffield launched an early attack up the slope on the back of a penalty which ended with dangerous half-back Anthony Thackeray launching a high kick. Bradley Knowles leapt highest to gather and plunge over to the left of the posts, with former Bulldogs man Patch Walker landing the first of nine successful conversions.
Sheffield piled on the pressure, forcing Batley to drop out and after Jacob Ogden was tackled close to the line, they moved play right and Thackeray’s neat short pass sent Jason Crookes crashing over for a try against his former club, with Walker adding the goal.
Ogden was again heavily involved in Sheffield’s third try as he cut inside and bounced off a tackle to take them close before Walker’s short pass sent Patrick Moran over to the left of the posts. Walker converted and the visitors led 18-0.
Batley finally gained some momentum as Louis Jouffret’s kick forced Sheffield to drop out.
From the resulting attack, Dominic Brambani fed Paul Brierley and although he tried to offload in a tackle, the loose forward managed to hold onto the ball and had the strength to plant it over the line for a try, which Jouffret improved.
Batley then moved play right and Dave Scott drew a defender and slipped a pass out to Keenan Tomlinson, who raced down the wing before cutting along the in-goal area to give Jouffret an easier conversion.
Michael Ward and Alistair Leak were both tackled close to the line as Batley looked to level before half-time.
Any hope Batley had of turning the game round in the second half were blown away as Sheffield scored three tries in the space of nine minutes with James Meadows proving influential.
The London dual registration player raced through a gap in the defence and stormed down the slope before slipping a pass inside for the supporting Walker to finish the move, diving between the posts before converting.
Meadows then scythed through a huge gap in the defence before sending Aaron Brown between the posts.
Meadows continued to torment Batley and he produced a kick to the in-goal area. Two Sheffield attackers challenged for the ball but it was deemed Blake Broadbent had got the final touch just before Meadows.
Two further Walker conversions put the result beyond doubt as Sheffield led 36-12 after 54 minutes.
Batley responded with a try as Reiss Butterworth ran the ball on the last tackle and fed James Brown, who drove over the line and managed to get it down despite the attention of three Eagles defenders, with Jouffret converting.
However, the respite was short lived as Sheffield responded with a further three tries in quick succession.
Thackeray’s neat short pass sent Oliver Davies through a gap and over for the Eagles seventh try, which Walker again improved.
Moments later, Knowles collected a pass and raced through a gap and behind the posts and Sheffield added a third try in the space of five minutes when Moran raced over to the right of the posts, with Walker tagging on his ninth goal.
Batley did manage a consolation try four minutes from time when Sam Wood raced over and Jouffret maintained the 100 per cent goal kicking record from both sides but it did little to mask a poor Bulldogs display.
Batley Bulldogs: Scott; Tomlinson, Smeaton, Wood, Campbell; Jouffret, Brambani; Gledhill, Leak, Everett, Downs, Manning, Brierley. Subs: Ward, J Brown, Butterworth, Bienek.
Sheffield Eagles: Guzdek; Millar, Ogden, Crookes, Blackmore; Walker, Thackeray; Moran, Davey, Knowles, Hellewell, Farrell, A Brown. Subs: Meadows, Davies, Broadbent, Burns.
Referee: Jack Smith.