Batley Bulldogs survived a late Doncaster fight back to hold on and record a 36-34 victory in an entertaining clash at the Doncaster Sports Village last Sunday.
Matt Diskin’s men head into the new Betfred Championship campaign full of confidence having won all four of their warm-up fixtures, although they were given a scare by their determined League One opponents.
Batley made a lively start and were ahead after only three minutes when Shaun Ainscough latched onto a neat grubber kick by James Brown to gather and score but Patch Walker was unable to convert.
Doncaster hit back to level when winger Aaron Jones-Bishop raced away down the right touchline for a fine try but Jack Miller’s conversion attempt sailed wide.
Doncaster had a lively spell and grabbed a second try when Ross Osbourne powered over and Miller added the goal.
Batley were behind for just five minutes as Ainscough gathered James Harrison’s long pass to grab his second try which Walker improved.
A strong run by Jason Crookes broke the Dons defence before he sent Dane Manning racing over to finish a flowing move.
Michael Ward crashed over from close range and Walker tagged on the goal as the Bulldogs led 20-10 at half-time.
Doncaster started the second half brightly with Connor Bower racing over three minutes after the re-start and Miller converted to reduce the deficit to four points.
Batley took a firm grip on the game with three tries in the space of 10 minutes.
Prop Adam Gledhill picked up a loose ball and scored near the posts, with Isaac Farrell taking over the kicking duties to land the goal.
Hooker Tom Hemingway then darted over for a trademark try from acting half-back, with Farrell again converting before Manning crossed for his second and Batley’s seventh try of the afternoon to extend their lead to 36-16.
Doncaster fought back in the final quarter and scored three tries of their own to threaten an unlikely win.
Charlie Martin created space to score an individual try to launch the fight back and Liam Harris converted.
Farrell was sin-binned for holding down in a tackle and with the Bulldogs defence a man down, Doncaster sensed an opportunity.
Back-rower Jack Downs showed a great turn of pace to sprint 40 metres to beat a number of would be tacklers on his way to the line, with Harris converting.
Doncaster’s French full-back Hakim Miloudi then crossed between the posts following a great break by Jones-Bishop and although Harris landed the goal, Batley held on for the narrow victory, which sees them remain unbeaten in pre-season.