Batley Bulldogs bounced back from their opening day defeat in Toulouse in impressive fashion as they defeated Halifax 24-6 to pick up their first win in the Kingstone Press Championship last Sunday.
Coach Matt Diskin admitted his side were out of sorts in the south of France the previous week but his players provided the perfect response by securing victory against a side who are expected to be one of the Bulldogs main rivals for a top four finish this season.
Batley mastered the difficult conditions far better than Fax as their physical superiority was evident throughout.
The Bulldogs scored three unanswered first half tries, despite playing up the slope, as they took control of a game they never looked like losing.
Dane Manning produced a man-of-the-match performance against a side where he made 124 appearances and the influential second row forward was also among Batley’s try scorers.
It took the Bulldogs just two minutes to open their account as an early penalty put them on attack deep in Halifax territory.
A lovely kick through by Dominic Brambani was pounced on by another former Halifax player, centre Sam Smeaton, for the first try.
Pat Walker converted and Batley had an early 6-0 lead.
Batley continued to dominate the early stages, with strong tackling putting Fax under pressure.
On the rare occasions the visitors ventured into Batley territory, unforced errors handed possession back to the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs drove back upfield and hooker James Davey broke through the defence before sending second rower Alex Bretherton over, with Walker adding the conversion.
Batley attacked again and almost grabbed a third try when Mike Hawkyard and Manning were both tackled inches short of the line.
Batley capitalised on more Halifax indiscipline with another penalty taking them back upfield.
Manning was not to be denied a try against his former club as he forced his way over from close range. Walker tagged on his third goal and Batley were well on course for victory, leading 18-0 at half-time
Halifax attempted to hit back early in the second half with Scott Murrell kicking them into good field position up the slope but dropped ball proved costly as they were unable to break the solid Bulldogs defence.
Batley put the result beyond doubt with a fourth try after 62 minutes as another penalty saw them deep in Halifax territory and Joe Chandler forced his way over from close range, with Walker converting.
Batley’s defence was eventually breached four minutes from full-time as James Woodburn-Hall did well to create space for James Saltonstall, to score in the corner.
Steve Tyrer landed a terrific touchline goal but it took none of the gloss off a fine Batley performance as they ensured the Toulouse result was put firmly behind them.