Bulldogs shine to maintain fine pre-season form with Keighley victory

Joe Chandler opened the scoring for Batley with a fourth minute try against Keighley Cougars last Sunday as the Bulldogs maintained their impressive pre-season form. Picture: Paul Butterfield
Joe Chandler opened the scoring for Batley with a fourth minute try against Keighley Cougars last Sunday as the Bulldogs maintained their impressive pre-season form. Picture: Paul Butterfield

Batley Bulldogs maintained their impressive pre-season form as they registered a third straight friendly success by overcoming determined League One side Keighley Cougars on a dismal day.

Despite the atrocious weather conditions, Batley produced some neat attacking rugby to run in five tries, while solid defence — a trademark of their pre-season games so far — again excelled to nil their opponents.

Coach Matt Diskin rested regular half-back pairing of Dominic Brambani and Patch Walker, with Tom Hemingway and Isaac Farrell getting the nod.

Farrell will spend the season on loan at Batley from Huddersfield Giants and looks an exciting prospect, while there was also a first start for new centre Lewis Galbraith.

It took Batley just four minutes to hit the front as Galbraith drew the defence before feeding Shaun Ainscough.

He raced clear before sending Joe Chandler over for the opening try, with Tom Hemingway converting.

Batley added a second try just five minutes later when a long pass left found Ainscough and the winger chipped to the in-goal area for Hemingway to win the race and touch down before getting up to add the goal.

The Bulldogs defence repelled a spell of Keighley presure to keep their line in tact.

Batley added a third try after 32 minutes when Tom Lillycrop drove for the line but was held up before Farrell was on hand to place a neat kick behind the Cougars defence for Jason Crookes to gather and score wide out.

Lillycrop and Keighley’s Ryan Wright were sin-binned following an altercation in the build up to half-time and the Bulldogs turned round with a 16-0 advantage.

The weather worsened in the second half with sleet and heavy rain making handling conditions extremely difficult but both sides deserve credit for continuing to try and play attractive rugby.

Batley began the second half on the front foot and Adam Gledhill was held up over the line but from the next play, James Davey capped an impressive individual performance at hooker by stretching over for their fourth try and Hemingway again tagged on the goal.

Keighley responded with their best spell of the match but again the Bulldogs defence was unbreakable.

The closest Keighley came to scoring came when Adam Ryder broke through and raced 60 metres only to drop the ball as the chance went begging.

Batley completed victory with a fifth try midway through the second half as full-back Dave Scott cut in from the left to weave his way through the Cougars defence on his way to the line and Farrell tagged on the extras.

A serious looking injury to Lillycrop was the only downside to another solid display from the Bulldogs, who play their fourth and final warm-up fixture on Sunday when they travel to Doncaster, before the Championship opener at Rochdale.