Batley turn on style to stun Broncos

Shaun Ainscough, Adam Gledhill and Tom Lillycrop celebrate Batley's win which puts them one win away from securing a place in the top four.
Shaun Ainscough, Adam Gledhill and Tom Lillycrop celebrate Batley's win which puts them one win away from securing a place in the top four.

Batley Bulldogs produced a superb display to defeat full-time London Broncos 31-20 and move third in the Kingstone Press Championship.

Batley showed terrific spirit to bounce straight back from their defeat to Featherstone and know victory at Swinton on Sunday will guarantee their place in the middle eights.

Half-backs Pat Walker and Dominic Brambani dictated play throughout to steer Batley towards another win against one of the more fancied teams in the competition and the Bulldogs have now taken nine points against the four full-time opponents.

Batley started the game well and powerful runs from Brad Day and Keegan Hirst almost brought reward as they were held up over the try line before Alex Bretherton knocked on in the act of scoring.

Having weathered an early Bulldogs storm, London struck first.

Former NRL star Jamie Soward produced an excellent crossfield kick and Elliot Kear leapt to gather and ground the ball for an unconverted try.

Batley responded superbly and rumbled down the slope to put London under pressure.

A lovely passing move stretched the Broncos defence and Shaun Ainscough raced over to level matters.

Brambani then kicked wide and returning centre Shaun Squires gathered and stretched over to score as Batley led for the first time, with Walker landing the conversion.

Batley then grabbed a third try in the space of 11 minutes when Iliess Macani made a hash of gathering another dangerous Brambani kick and Ainscough gathered to grab his second try as the Bulldogs led 14-4 at half-time.

Broncos centre Ben Hellewell reduced the deficit when strolled over just four minutes after the re-start.

Despite playing up the slope, Batley continued to build momentum and put London under pressure.

Brambani’s kicking was a key factor and another well-placed chip wide allowed winger Wayne Reittie to gather and score, with Walker’s conversion stretching the lead to 20-8.

Brambani nipped over for a 51st minute try to give the Bulldogs breathing space but they were handed a swift reminder that London were still in the game when Api Pewhairangi crossed and Soward converted to pull the visitors back to within six points.

Adam Gledhill eased Batley’s nerves when he forced his way over and Walker converted.

Mark Offerdahl replied with London’s fourth try, which Soward improved, but Batley knew time was on their side.

The Bulldogs faithful, in a 783-strong crowd, roared their team towards the finish line and when Brambani slotted over a 79th minute drop goal supporters began planning their trips to Swinton for one of the biggest games in the club’s recent history.