Bulldogs hit back to beat Doncaster

Batley Bulldogs attempt to launch an attack against the Doncaster defence last Sunday.
Batley Bulldogs attempt to launch an attack against the Doncaster defence last Sunday.

Batley Bulldogs fought back from a half-time deficit to seal a 38-20 victory over Doncaster at The Keepmoat Stadium last Sunday.

Victory keeps Batley four points ahead of second-bottom Hunslet, while they are three behind fourth placed Workington Town in the race for a place in the Championship Shield semi-finals.

Doncaster had seen relegation to League One confirmed by defeat the previous week but they played with freedom, especially in the first half when Gary Thornton threatened to pull off victory against his former club.

Batley began brightly but were denied by solid home defence and it was against the run of play when the Dons took a 15th minute lead.

Full-back Dave Scott joined the line in a move which ended with Liam Welham stepping inside to score. Scott’s conversion hit the post.

Batley were tackled short on several occasions before they edged into a 6-4 lead when centre Elliot Cosgrove touched down out wide following some good handling. Scott Leatherbarrow landed a terrific touchline goal in blustery conditions.

Doncaster replied when prop Brett Waller crashed over from close range and Scott converted as the home side regained a slender advantage.

Doncaster then ran a penalty from in front of the posts and second-rower LotoTagaloa forced his way over to put the Dons 14-6 ahead at the break.

John Kear’s half-time team talk had the desired effect as Batley struck just four minutes into the second half with a Wayne Reittie try, converted by Leatherbarrow.

Mike Kelly blew a golden opportunity for the Dons when he dropped the ball over the try line and Batley then took control running in a further four unanswered tries.

Cain Southernwood crossed for a 51st minute try which Leatherbarrow improved to edge the Bulldogs back in front at 18-14.

Shaun Ainscough gave Batley an eight point advantage with a 56th minute unconverted try before Reittie bagged his second, which Leatherbarrow improved.

Shaun Squires added Batley’s sixth try and Leatherbarrow’s fourth goal gave Batley breathing space at 32-14.

Danny Cowling’s offload put winger Tom Hodson over for a consolation try, which Scott goaled, but Batley had the last word, when Ainscough dived in at the corner and Leatherbarrow added another terrific goal.