Batley seal hard-fought away victory

Alistair Leak crossed the whitewash to set up a strong finish from Batley Bulldogs at Town. Picture: Andy May
Alistair Leak crossed the whitewash to set up a strong finish from Batley Bulldogs at Town. Picture: Andy May

Two tries and a drop goal in the final 11 minutes of Batley’s Kingstone Press Championship clash with Workington helped the Bulldogs to seal a 23-10 win that ended their five-game losing run.

Alistair Leak and James Craven both ran in tries converted by Scott Leatherbarrow and the latter kicked a drop goal from inside his own half to ensure victory.

The Bulldogs were 8-0 ahead at the break with Leatherbarrow kicking a penalty and converting Wayne Reittie’s try but Callum Phillips and Carl Forber’s self converted scores turned the tide.

Leatherbarrow’s penalty tied the scores but it was left to Leak and Craven to run in the decisive points along with Leatherbarrow’s enormous drop goal.

The result moves the Bulldogs up to eighth in the table and completes the double over the division strugglers.

Things started well for the visitors when Scott Leatherbarrow kicked a penalty between the sticks and Wayne Reittie ran 80-metres for a converted score, opening up an eight point interval lead.

Strong hold-up play from Batley prevented Lewis Tierney from crossing as he was stopped on the line but the hosts soon had their breakthrough.

Within 13 minutes of the restart, Town had overturned the deficit as Callum Phillips broke clear and dotted down within the first 60-seconds of the restart.

Things appeared to go from bad to worse when Carl Forber skipped clear to cross the whitewash and then self-convert to edge Town ahead for the first time in the contest.

Their advantage did not last long, sustained Batley pressure saw them tie the scores with a Leatherbarrow penalty from nearly 50-metres.

Luke Blake became orchestral in the Batley attacks and after his break from the left came to nothing, Shaun Squires saw the opportunity to get the Bulldogs back in-front.

His chip released a suspiciously offside Alistair Leak who crossed the whitewash to open up a six-point lead and put the Bulldogs ahead in the final 10-minutes.

With two minutes remaining, Blake broke through the middle and two passes later, James Craven had the ball between the sticks.

Leatherbarrow converted and then added a remarkable drop goal to put the result beyond doubt.