Bulldogs determined to claim Boxing Day derby spoils

Dominic Brambani, in action against Batley last season, set to make his first Bulldogs appearance against Dewsbury.
Dominic Brambani, in action against Batley last season, set to make his first Bulldogs appearance against Dewsbury.

Batley Bulldogs will be bidding to retain the Roy Powell Trophy when they travel to Dewsbury Rams for the traditional Boxing Day showdown.

Batley won a thrilling contest in the corresponding fixture last season when a late penalty by former Ram Jordan Grayston saw them take the spoils 18-16 and another Christmas cracker is in prospect on Saturday (kick off noon).

Both sides have recruited well in the close season and Bulldogs coach John Kear is relishing the clash, which will see Batley field 20 or 21 players.

Kear said: “Everyone is excited about the prospect of seeing the likes of Danny Cowling, Dom Brambani, Patch Walker and Dave Scott.

“Patch and Dom have been on the other side in derbies but everyone is fully aware of what the match means to the club our fans and for us as a playing group.

“Me and Glenn Morrison have a good understanding that although this is part of our pre season preparations, we want it to be competitive and compelling for the festive fans. I just hope the wind doesn’t spoil it.

“To me this game is part of Christmas and last year’s game attracted one of our biggest crowds of the season.”

Chris Ulugia, who will play for Batley on a season-long loan from Bradford Bulls, is currently in New Zealand, while Sean Hesketh is ruled out through injury.

Joe Chandler is also rated as doubtful following knee surgery but the remainder of the Bulldogs squad are available.

Kear added: “I think professional rugby league players have progressed and, although they like a drink, they know when is an appropriate time to enjoy themselves.

“I’m sure the players will be going out on Boxing Day, as they did last year, but they will have earned it.”