Batley Bulldogs 6 Featherstone Rovers 32: Dominant Featherstone continue impressive start to campaign

Ian Hardman's first-half brace turned the tide in Featherstone's favour at Batley.
Ian Hardman's first-half brace turned the tide in Featherstone's favour at Batley.

Featherstone Rovers’ impressive start in the Kingstone Press Championship continued with a dominant 32-6 victory over Batley Bulldogs at Mount Pleasant.

Ian Hardman’s first-half brace, against the run of play, set Rovers on course for a third successive victory, condemning Batley to a second defeat.

Playing uphill, Rovers were under the cosh for much of the opening period, but defended superbly and hit the hosts twice with tries on the counter-attack.

The first came after 12 minutes, when Rovers were down to 12 men after Michael Knowles had been sin-binned for a foul on Dave Scott.

On Rovers’ first attack, Anthony Thackeray’s pass sent Brad Tagg into space and he put Hardman over. Ash Handley could not convert, but Knowles kicked two penalties to make it 8-0.

And on the final play of the half Luke Briscoe charged up the slope and Hardman was on hand to cross again, Knowles booting the extras.

Rovers added a third try just five minutes into the second half when Chris Ulugia sent Handley in, Knowles’ touchline conversion making it 20-0.

Batley’s Dominic Brambani, in his 300th career game, cut through for a brilliant solo try which Patch Walker improved with 28 minutes left, but a Knowles penalty made it 22-6 at the start of the final quarter and then Briscoe capped a fine game with a try at the corner.

Keal Carlile had a strong game for Rovers and he scored their fifth try, going over from close range, with 10 minutes left. Knowles booted the conversion to complete the scoring.