Brave Bulldogs produce battling display in defeat to Rovers

Dave Scott scored a brace of tries for Batley.
Dave Scott scored a brace of tries for Batley.

Batley Bulldogs produced a brave performance but were unable to prevent a 40-14 defeat to Featherstone Rovers in the Betfred Championship.

The final scoreline was harsh on Batley, who were deservedly leading midway through the second half but were unable to close the game out as the Bulldogs long run without a home league win over Rovers continued.

It was 2003 the last time Batley recorded a league win over Featherstone at Mount Pleasant but for long spells it appeared the Bulldogs were on course to end that losing run.

Batley made a terrific start playing down the slope and grabbed two tries in the opening 10 minutes.

Batley stormed downfield on the back of a penalty and Isaac Farrell made a jinking run towards the line before James Brown drove over but was held up.

From the next play, Batley moved left and Dave Scott raced through a gap and over for the opening try, which Patch walker converted.

Just two minutes later, James Harrison made a storming run to break the Rovers defence and he found full-back Scott in support to send him racing over unopposed and Walker again converted.

Rovers hit back with a 13th minute try as back-to-back penalties took them up the slope and James Lockwood raced through a gap and over to score, with Martyn Ridyard converting.

James Harrison crashed over the line but was held up as Batley continued to pose problems for the in-form Rovers.

Mitchell Clark dropped the ball in attempting to plant it over the try line at the other end.

Batley were put on a team warning after conceding a fifth penalty of the first half and when Jason Crookes was penalised for tackling a Featherstone defender in the air following a high kick, he was sin-binned.

Rovers moved right on the back of another penalty and slick handling created the gap for Luke Briscoe to dive over, stretching his impressive try scoring record to nine successive games for Rovers.

Batley were awarded a penalty on the stroke of half-time and Walker hammered over the goal from 35 metres out as the Bulldogs deservedly led 14-10 at the break.

The Bulldogs almost stretched that advantage six minutes into the second half as James Davey darted from the line from acting half back but the Rovers defence did well to keep him out.

Batley were mounting a further spell of pressure but the game turned on a piece of individual brilliance from Ridyard, as he launched a 40-20 kick downfield and from the first tackle Featherstone moved left for Leeds Rhinos dual registration teenager Harry Newman — the first player born this century to appear for Rovers — to score wide out and Ridyard landed a fine conversion to edge the visitors ahead after 53 minutes.

Batley almost hit back from their next attack as Brisoce made a hash of gathering a high kick and Brown looked to have crashed over for a try but was judged not to have grounded the ball.

Batley were attacking again when Farrell launched a high kick which was collected by Briscoe and he beat the first line of Batley’s defence and outpaced Scott on a superb 75 metre run to the line. Ridyard converted.

Back-to-back penalties took Rovers back downfield and more slick handling created a gap for Tom Holmes to race through and score, with Ridyard’s conversion putting Rovers in control at 28-14.

Brisoce then collected a pass and raced over to complete a second successive hat-trick for Rovers, with Ridyard converting.

Tom Holland caused Featherstone problems all afternoon and he almost pulled a consolation try back only to lose the ball as he attempted to stretch over the line.

Batley attacked again but when a kick rolled agonisingly dead, Featherstone turned defence into attack and three tackles later had gone the length of the field and Matty Wildie capitalised on a tiring Batley defence to score between the posts.

Ridyard landed his fifth goal as Featherstone completed their 100th win over Batley in all competitions since 1921.

Batley Bulldogs: Scott; Tomlinson, Cowling, Galbraith, Crookes; Walker, I Farrell; Rowe, Leak, Ward, Smeaton, Harrison, Chandler. Subs: Brambani, Davey, J Brown, Holland.

Featherstone Rovers: Homes; Briscoe, Hardcastle, Newman, Robinson; Ridyard, Wildie; Knowles, Carlile, Clarki, C Farrell, Davies, Lockwood. Subs: Cooper, Brooks, Mariano, Ormondroyd.

Referee: Nicholas Bennett.

Attendance: 1,273.