Batley Bulldogs suffered a 44-22 defeat in an entertaining, yet sometimes feisty, clash away to Bradford Bulls in the Kingstone Press Championship last Sunday.
A cracking, end-to-end, first half saw the sides go into the break level at 18-18 and although Batley were still in contention after an hour, it was Bradford who pulled clear in the final quarter.
Batley almost scored from their first attack but Macauley Hallett was judged to have knocked on when attempting to touch down.
Bradford moved to the other end, where centre Ross Oakes created space to score out wide, with Oscar Thomas adding a fine conversion.
Batley responded immediately and after Brad Day drove play close to the line, hooker Alistair Leak nipped over from acting half-back and Dominic Brambani converted.
Leak was held up over the try line before Adam Gledhill drove Batley close and Joel Farrell had the strength to stretch over for his first Batley try, which Brambani converted
The breathless first half continued as Leon Pryce sent Kevin Larroyer over for the Bulls second try and Thomas converted to draw his side level.
Bradford then went ahead as James Bentley dived over on the last tackle and Thomas added his third goal.
Batley responded with a spell of pressure and the Bulls defence finally cracked when Sam Smeaton was on the end of a sweeping move to score out wide and Brambani landed a terrific touchline goal to make it 18-18 at half-time.
Batley regained the lead soon after the re-start when a superb move was rounded off with Tom Holmes collecting the final pass to cross but Brambani was unable to add the goal.
Ethan Ryan replied soon after, diving over in the corner and with Thomas unable to add the goal the sides were all square once more.
Smeaton was sin-binned but the 12-man Bulldogs almost regained the lead when Brambani intercepted a pass and fed Wayne Reittie but the winger knocked on with the try line beckoning.
Bradford struck from their next attack with Oakes grabbing his second try, which Thomas improved, before kicking a penalty goal soon after as the Bulls opened a crucial eight pint lead.
Batley looked to respond and were on attack five metres from the Bulls line when former Bulldogs player Johnny Campbell intercepted a pass and raced the length of the field for a superb try.
Thomas was unable to convert but he sealed Bradford’s win from their next attack when he broke the defence and stepped over for a try which he improved as the Bulls led 40-22.
With five minutes remaining, Reittie looked certain to score only to knock-on on the Bradford try-line and the Bulls survived another spell of pressure.
Dane Manning was sent to the sin-bin three minutes from time and the Bulls capitalised as Campbell collected Lee Smith’s pass to grab his second try and seal Batley’s fate.