Batley swoop to stun high flying Eagles

Batley's Chris Ulugia attempts to wrestle free from Sheffield half-back Cory Aston. 'Pictures: Paul Butterfield
Batley's Chris Ulugia attempts to wrestle free from Sheffield half-back Cory Aston. 'Pictures: Paul Butterfield

Batley Bulldogs produced another stunning home display to overcome Kingstone Press Championship high flyers Sheffield Eagles 20-8.

Having beaten title favourites Leigh in the opening game of the season and pushed Featherstone Rovers close the previous week, Batley ended Sheffield’s unbeaten start to the season.

Dominic Brambani grabbed a brace of tries against his former club, while another ex-Sheffield man, Pat Walker, landed four goals from four attempts to leave the Eagles stunned.

Batley adapted far better to the blustery conditions at Fox’s Biscuits Stadium and only trailed 8-6 at half-time, having played up the slope.

The Bulldogs went on to deny the Eagles further points after the break as they secured another notable win.

Sheffield took a ninth minute lead when centre Menze Yere latched onto a Dave Hewitt grubber kick to the in-goal area and pounce for an unconverted try wide out.

Brambani latched onto James Brown’s pass to crash through the Sheffield defence for the equalising score and Walker’s conversion edged Batley ahead.

Another grubber kick to the corner saw Sheffield debutant Garry Lo score out wide but Michael Knowles was again unable to add the touchline goal and the Bulldogs were satisfied with their first half display.

Brown and Alex Rowe drove Batley down field in a terrific second half display by the hosts.

Great defensive worked forced Sheffield to turn the ball over deep inside their own half.

Brambani’s kick through was spilled by Lo and the scrum half regathered to cross for his second try after 46 minutes.

Walker again converted as Batley gained a 12-8 lead they were to never lose.

Solid defence thwarted a spell of Sheffield pressure and when Batley moved back downfield Alistair Leak showed strength to carry three Eagles defenders over the try line and plant the ball down. Walker again added the extras.

Sheffield had been frustrated by Batley’s impressive work rate and when they were penalised for speaking out of turn, while in possession, Walker hammered over the goal to stretch the Bulldogs lead to 12 points.

Luke Blake was sin-binned late on but Batley’s defence kept the Eagles at bay to secure victory.