Battling Batley bow out of Challenge Cup

Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.
Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.

Catalans Dragons swept into the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-finals despite a battling performance from brave Championship outfit Batley Bulldogs.

Batley defended superbly in the first half but were unable take advantage of playing down the slope as the Dragons led 12-0 at half-time.

Catalans clicked into gear after the break and four tries in the space of 13 minutes put paid to any chance of a cup giantkilling as the Dragons went on to complete a 40-4 victory.

Batley made a storming start and when Cain Southernwood’s dangerous kick was spilled by full-back Tony Gigot it handed the Bulldogs an excellent attacking chance.

Batley twice turned down the opportunity to kick at goal from penalties and when they moved quickly left, a pass went to ground.

Catalans launched a brilliant counter attack as winger Fouad Yaha collected a pass and raced 80 metres up the slope to score between the posts. Pat Richards tagged on the simple conversion.

Centre Vincent Duport bombed an excellent chance for a second Dragons try when he drew Bulldogs full-back Dave Scott only to pass way forward.

Batley’s defence continued to thwart Catalans but they were guilty of handing over possession cheaply.

Eventually a neat move saw the Dragons open the defence and impressive scrum half Richie Myler slipped a pass to send Duport over wide on the left and Richards landed a towering touchline conversion.

Willie Mason clattered Alex Rowe with a head high tackle but referee Gareth Hewer chose just to give the Australian a stern talking to.

Again Batley were unable to take advantage of the attack when they lost possession and the Dragons led 12-0 at half-time.

It took Catalans just five minutes after the re-start to extend their advantage as Louis Anderson’s long pass allowed Duport to step out of a tackle and race over behind the posts, with Richards converting.

Myler added his name to the scorers after a break by Willie Mason and lovely inside pass by Duport.

Dave Taylor raced over and Richards goaled before the Dragons added their fifth try in 13 minutes when Gigot crossed and Richards improved as the Super League high fliers extended their lead to 34-0.

Batley battled bravely up the slope and were rewarded with a well worked consolation try.

Keegan Hirst was lifted in a tackle from the resulting penalty, Batley moved left, Chris Ulugia spun out of a tackle and sent Alex Brown racing over.

Batley had a spell of pressure and Alex Brown twice went close to getting on the end of dangerous kicks.

Catalans had the last word though when Julian Bousquet sent Gigot racing over for his second try and Richards added his sixth goal

Batley Bulldogs: D Scott; Reittie, Ulugia, Bretherton, A Brown; Southernwood, Brambani; Hirst, Davey, J Brown, Chandler, Harrison, Blake. Subs: Leak, Lillycrop, Rowe, Peterson.

Catalans Dragons: Gigot; Yaha, Horo, Duport, Richards; Albert, Myler; Taylor, Pelissier, Casty, Stewart, Anderson, Baitieri. Subs: Bousquet, Mounis, Bosc, Mason.

Referee: Gareth Hewer (Whitehaven).

Attendance: 1,249