Batley Bulldogs produced a determined display but it wasn’t enough to prevent a 34-6 defeat away to a powerful Leigh Centurions side in the Betfred Championship last Sunday.
Batley had their fair share of possession in the first half and showed some decent touches but they were unable to prevent Leigh running in three tries in each half as the Centurions secured their first points of the season.
Leigh half-backs Drew Hutchison and Ben Reynolds linked well to bring the Centurions powerful pack into the game and the home side bounced back from their surprise opening day defeat against Toronto.
It proved a tough first outing for the Bulldogs after their scheduled opening round match against Rochdale was postponed the previous week.
Leigh took a sixth minute lead when Jack Owens began a sweeping move from inside his own ‘25 and centre Ben Crooks was on hand to gather the final pass and complete a long range effort with the opening try wide out.
Reynolds landed a brilliant touchline goal, with first of five successful efforts, as Leigh eased any nerves to take an early lead.
Batley’s defence repelled the Centurions for a time but when they forced a repeat set on the 20 minute mark, the Bulldogs finally cracked as Nathan Mason powered over by the posts to give Reynolds a simple goal.
Leigh added a third try on the half hour when another long break put them in a good field position and Crooks collected a neat inside pass to cross for his second try.
Reynolds added another touchline goal and Leigh had taken control to lead 18-0.
Batley showed glimpses of their attacking ability as the half wore on and they were rewarded with a try just before the interval.
Having taken play close, Alistair Leak produced a neat pass, which was met by a powerful run from Alex Rowe as he crashed over by the posts.
Patch Walker added the conversion and the Bulldogs had a glimmer of hope going into half-time trailing by 12 points.
Realistic hopes of a Batley fight back were ended nine minutes into the second half as Leigh benefited from back-to-back penalties to put them on attack.
Kevin Larroyer gathered a pass to score their fourth try wide out on his Centurions debut and stretch his side’s lead to 22-6.
Leigh again benefited from further penalties, which put them back on attack and winger Matty Dawson-Jones was on the end of a neat handling move to dive in at the corner.
Reynolds, who had missed with the conversion to Larroyer’s try, added a third touchline goal.
Reynolds made a break before sending Jamie Acton racing over for his side’s sixth try, which the scrum half improved.
Batley tried valiantly to hit back but their efforts proved in vain.