Bulldogs prepare for tricky trip to Oldham

Batley prop Keegan Hirst has a drive halted by Rams' defenders Kyle Trout and Dom Speakman last Friday.
Batley prop Keegan Hirst has a drive halted by Rams' defenders Kyle Trout and Dom Speakman last Friday.

Batley Bulldogs are preparing for a tricky trip to Oldham as they visit Stalybridge Celtic’s Bower Fold for the first time on Sunday (kick off 3pm).

Batley have pleased coach John Kear with the way they have met every challenge put before them and they head across the Pennines as joint leaders in the Kingstone Press Championship.

Oldham have played just three league games at home this season but recorded a notable 38-16 success over Dewsbury Rams at the compact venue, while the Roughyeds produced a second half comeback before losing 42-28 to in-form Halifax last Friday.

Batley gained an Easter double, defeating Dewsbury and Whitehaven and Kear was happy with the way his side handled the tough schedule.

Kear said: “The first 20 to 30 minutes against Dewsbury was the best we have played all season.

“Easter was all about showing the will and mental toughness rather than skill and the players have handled it well to take four points from four.

“We have met every challenge thrown at us but we now face different posers with away games at Oldham and London.

“Oldham will pose a threat and London have not lost at home in the league and we have to contend with the artificial pitch and the travel.”

Batley are riding high, level at the top of the Championship on 13 points with Leigh, but Kear admits his side are not getting carried away.

He added: “We set a target for the first game of the season, then the first quarter, followed by Easter.

“We now are setting a target on the second quarter, after which we will have played everybody and the breakdown is pretty simple.”

Centre Danny Cowling is Batley’s only worry after picking up a knock in the Good Friday derby win at Dewsbury.