Bulldogs feel full force of classy Rovers

Batley's James Brown can find no way through as he is tackled by Hull KR's James Donaldson and Adam Walker.
Batley's James Brown can find no way through as he is tackled by Hull KR's James Donaldson and Adam Walker.

Batley Bulldogs slipped to a 58-18 defeat to Hull KR in their opening match of the Middle Eights at the Lightstream Stadium last Sunday.

Batley faced a step up in class against a side determined to preserve their Super League status as Rovers ran in 10 tries.

Roared on by another large travelling contingent, it was Batley who struck first in the opening stages when hooker Alistair Leak darted over from acting half-back and Pat Walker converted.

Batley fans daring to dream of a shock win were brought back down to earth as Rovers struck back, running in six first half tries.

Shaun Lunt broke through the defence and found Iain Thornley in support as Rovers replied just four minutes after going behind.

Josh Mantellato landed the first of his nine conversions.

Ken Sio broke down the right touchline just a minute later and when play was moved inside, Thomas Minns was given a simple run to the line for the first of his hat-trick with Montellato converting.

Batley were hampered further by first half injuries to Shaun Ainscough and Walker.

Hull KR again moved play right, with Minns forcing his way over for a second try, which Mantellato improved.

Sio and Ben Cockayne linked well to create another Rovers opening which resulted in Matty Marsh scoring, before James Greenwood collected a poor pass and burst through the Bulldogs’ tiring defence to cross.

Minns completed his hat-trick soon after and three further Mantellato goals put the home side 36-6 ahead after 37 minutes.

The Bulldogs were rewarded with a second try on the stroke of half-time when James Brown drove the ball in and popped a lovely pass inside for Tom Lillycrop to crash over between the posts. Dominic Brambani converted.

Batley had a spell of pressure at the start of the second half but were unable to turn it into points and Rovers struck with a seventh try when Mantellato’s neat grubber kick was touched down by Ben Cockayne.

Greenwood stormed through a gap for his second try before a neat Marsh pass put Maurice Blair over as Rovers topped 50 points.

Montellato acrobatically dived in at the left corner for KR’s 10th try and his conversion bounced off the crossbar and over.

Batley grabbed the final try when James Brown drove close before Alex Rowe barged over and Brambani converted.