Bulldogs focus on Rams derby

Celebration time: Bulldogs players celebrate victory at Bradford Bulls on Monday - Batleys first win at Odsal since 1972. Picture: James Hardisty
Celebration time: Bulldogs players celebrate victory at Bradford Bulls on Monday - Batleys first win at Odsal since 1972. Picture: James Hardisty

Batley Bulldogs are gearing up to face old rivals Dewsbury Rams for a fifth time this season knowing victory will secure a home semi-final in the Kingstone Press Championship Shield.

Monday’s impressive performance away to Bradford Bulls — which saw Batley score 44 unanswered points in the space of 27 minutes either side of half-time — gave the Bulldogs a first win at Odsal since 1972 and puts Matt Diskin’s side on the brink of clinching second place in the Shield table.

Batley produced some scintilating rugby in a 44-18 win, which boosts confidence ahead of the Rams visit.

Diskin was impressed with his side’s display but believes there is still room for improvement against a Dewsbury side whose five match winning run was ended by a 35-28 defeat at home to Swinton on Monday.

Diskin said: “I thought for the first 20 minutes and the last 20 we were scrappy, but in the middle 40 I thought we were really good.

“We turned Bradford around and forced them into their own end and played some really clinical stuff with the ball – we were very good near their line. We knew if we hit the right lines and squared the right numbers up we would get opportunities and we did that really well in good ball – it was encouraging.”

Dewsbury won the first three derbies this season but Batley won 36-20 at home in July and the sides could yet meet in the Shield semi-finals or final.