Batley Bulldogs consolidated third place in the Kingstone Press Championship thanks to last Friday’s impressive 24-10 win at Sheffield Eagles.
It was a fifth straight win for John Kear’s men and a fifth straight defeat for the Eagles and with top-four rivals Halifax dropping a point 24 hours later, Batley head into Sunday’s crunch game at Bradford in high spirits.
Batley produced a spell of early pressure which was soaked up by the Eagles defence on a soggy night in South Yorkshire.
Sheffield took a ninth minute lead when Keal Carlile fed Quentin Laulu-Togagae and the prolific full-back managed to get over the line for the opening try, which Cory Aston adding converted.
It didn’t take Batley long to hit back and level as James Davey took them forward with a neat break before Keegan Hirst barged his way over to touch down and former Sheffield man Pat Walker slotted over the goal.
Adam Gledhill and Tom Lillycrop drove Batley forward and when Sheffield were caught offside, Walker kicked the goal from in front of the posts to edge the visitors ahead.
The Eagles were then dealt a hammer blow just before the break when Walker’s bomb was spilled by Laulu-Togagae and Greg Minikin was on hand to gather for a simple try which Walker converted.
Batley struck a decisive blow on the stroke of half-time when Walker launched an up and under which Laulu-Togagae spilled and Greg Minikin was on hand to gather and score his fourth try in successive games.
Walker converted and Batley led 14-6 at half-time.
Sheffield replied early in the second half when George Tyson broke the defence and raced away to score but Aston was unable to convert and Batley held a four-point lead.
Batley responded in style and just four minutes later, extended their lead when a lovely sweeping move saw Dominic Brambani and Minikin create an overlap for winger Wayne Reittie to dive in at the corner but Walker was unable to add the touchline goal.
Superb Batley defence then kept the Eagles out as they stopped a jinking run by Laulu-Togagae, while the impressive Minikin produced an excellent tackle to deny the dangerous Menzie Yere
Having weathered the Eagles storm, Batley sealed victory six minutes from time when Joe Chandler showed great strength to carry four defenders over the line and planted the ball down.
Walker converted and Bulldogs supporters returned up the M1 with their dreams of a top-four finish very much alive.