Batley Bulldogs left Headingley with their heads held high and pride very much in tact after suffering a 32-0 defeat at Leeds Rhinos last Friday.
Many of Batley’s part-time squad travelled to the ground straight from work but the Bulldogs showed great resolve to thwart a near full-strength Rhinos for long spells.
It was an occasion every Bulldogs fan had looked forward to since their qualification for the middle eights stage of the competition and a decent away following cheered them on from the Western Terrace.
Batley only conceded six tries and although they didn’t manage to score themselves, the squad earned huge resect and left the field to an ovation from the respectful Rhinos faithful.
Full-back Dave Scott produced a terrific tackle to deny Liam Sutcliffe and it set the benchmark for an excellent defensive effort by Batley.
The Bulldogs had a chance to take the lead but turned down a penalty shot at goal from in front of the posts.
Leeds broke the deadlock after 17 minutes when Kallum Watkins sent Tom Briscoe in at the corner and Jordan Lilley converted from the touchline.
Batley responded well and had a spell of pressure which saw them force two Rhinos two goalline drop outs but they were unable to find a way through the Leeds defence.
Watkins gathered a Brett Ferres pass and burst a tackle to score after 30 minutes.
Watkins added a second try two minutes before the interval after gathering another pass from the impressive Ferres. Lilley converted as Leeds led 16-0 at half-time.
James Davey created Batley’s best chance at the start of the second half when he split the defence only to be hauled down short of the line by Ferres.
It took Leeds until just before the hour mark to add a fourth try when England international Ryan Hall gathered Liam Sutcliffe’s long pass to race over and Lilley converted.
Batley again thwarted the Rhinos start studded line-up for a spell and it took Leeds until 12 minutes from time to grab their fifth try with Hall crossing from close range for his second.
Brad Singleton broke through and found Rob Burrow in support to score. Lilley converted to round off the scoring nine minutes from time.
The Bulldogs showed great resolve to keep going for the full 80 minutes and they left the Headingley pitch with cheers from the 15,135 crowd ringing in their ears.
Even the Rhinos hardcore support gathered in the South Stand chanted Batley, Batley in recognition of the Bulldogs sterling effort.