Batley capture Craven as Greenwood joins Halifax

James Craven has joined Batley Bulldogs following successful spells with Keighley Cougars and Dewsbury Rams.
James Craven has joined Batley Bulldogs following successful spells with Keighley Cougars and Dewsbury Rams.

Batley Bulldogs have swooped to sign full-back James Craven from Keighley Cougars as they act swiftly to replace Miles Greenwood.

Batley’s leading try scorer Greenwood is regarded as one of the hottest properties in the Kingstone Press Championship, having scored 22 tries in just 25 games for the Bulldogs this season.

Greenwood was named in the Championship All Stars team of the year but has joined rivals Halifax, along with Alex Brown, who spent much of the campaign on loan at the Bulldogs from Leigh Centurions.

Craven has had an impressive season with Keighley, making 22 appearances and scoring 11 tries, having joined from Dewsbury last winter.

Craven is well known in the local amateur game, where he played with Shaw Cross and Thornhill Trojans before having two spells with the Rams.

Craven became renowned for his solid last line of defence and his ability to link-up swiftly with attack during his time across the valley.

Batley have also signed former Leeds Rhinos academy loose forward James Brown from Swinton Lions.

Brown has spent the last two seasons at Swinton, where he made 39 appearances, and he replaces fans favourite Mark Applegarth, who has joined Championship One outfit York City Knights as player and assistant coach.

York finished top of Championship One under the guidance of former Bulldogs coach Gary Thornton but failed to reach the Grand Final.

Despite Thornton collecting the Championship One coach of the year award, York did not renew his contract, replacing him with James Ford, who has recruited 29-year-old Applegarth as his assistant.

It is also understood Lee Paterson will not return to the Bulldogs next season and the centre has indicated the possibility of retiring.