Bulldogs on the hunt to end Leigh’s win run

Keegan Hirst attempts to wrestle free of Swinton's Grant Beecham during last Sunday's Challenge Cup tie.
Keegan Hirst attempts to wrestle free of Swinton's Grant Beecham during last Sunday's Challenge Cup tie.

Batley Bulldogs will attempt to end Leigh Centurions’ long unbeaten run when they travel to the Leigh Sports Village on Sunday.

The Centurions sent Salford Red Devils crashing out of the Challenge Cup last weekend as Leigh stretched their unbeaten run to 21 matches, dating back to July 13.

Leigh are two points clear of Bradford Bulls at the top of the Kingstone Press Championship having won all nine matches but Batley will hope last week’s 46-14 cup win over Swinton will instil confidence.

Coach John Kear was pleased with his side’s display against the Lions, saying: “I’d watched some of the Swinton games and was impressed with what they had to offer.

“To draw with North Wales and get to the final of the iPro Cup, we knew they had to be respected but credit to our players, they prepared as they would for a Championship team or Super League team and you saw the results. It was a very professional display.

“We scored nine tries and there were some cracking tries within that.”

Kear handed young full-back Jacob Morgan a debut and he capped a fine display with a try.

Kear added: “I was really pleased with Jacob’s debut but I’ve been pleased with a lot of the youngsters who have come in. They are showing they are listening and trying to improve which bodes well for the Championship.

“Tom Thackray scored two good tries but he will have to stop blowing kisses to his girlfriend in the stands or he will find himself sat in the crowd.”

Scrum-half Scott Leatherbarrow and full-back James Craven continue to recover from long-term injuries and although they will not feature against Leigh, they could be in line for a return when Batley host Whitehaven on May 3.

Kear reported no new injury concerns after the Swinton game and is looking forward to welcoming key players back in the coming weeks.

He added: “We are building them up to full contact training and hopefully we can start getting some players back and replenish the squad.”