Community comes together at Batley

Alex Bretherton has been ruled out of Sunday's game against Sheffield Eagles after suffering a kidney injury.
Alex Bretherton has been ruled out of Sunday's game against Sheffield Eagles after suffering a kidney injury.

Batley Bulldogs hope the community will come together when they open their doors and offer free admission to this Sunday’s Kingstone Press Championship game against Sheffield Eagles (kick off 3pm).

The club’s gesture comes on a weekend when friends and family of late Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox will gather at a number of community events across the district to mark the anniversary of her murder.

Batley led tributes to Jo last year and on Sunday, the Bulldogs have a number of events planned to keep the family thoroughly entertained, with gates opening at 1pm.

Bulldogs chief executive Paul Harrison said: “We really hope the community get behind the event.

“We will have fairground rides for the kids, a band playing pre and post match and there will be over 100 cheerleaders on the field at half-time.

“Rugby people get to come and watch the Bulldogs for free but it is also a chance for the people of Batley to come and help celebrate the life of Jo Cox.”

The family of former Bulldogs president Ron Earnshaw are sponsoring the game as has become a tradition in recent seasons when Batley play Sheffield. Ron’s final game before he passed away was the 2013 Championship Grand Final against the Eagles and friends and family of the Batley stalwart will again gather in his memory.

Batley’s hopes of securing a top four finish may have dimnished but Batley will target an assault on the Championship Shield when the season splits after 23 regular rounds.

Batley ended a recent blip with a 26-12 victory away to Swinton last Sunday and Harrison believes it could kick start a good run in Batley’s final six matches before the split.

Harrison added: “The top four might have gone but we have a new challenge and want to challenge for some silverware which would be tremendous.”

Alex Bretherton is ruled out with a kidney injury but club captain Dominic Brambani is available after serving a one-match ban for last week’s match against Swinton.

Centre Jason Crookes is available for selection and he will be determined to force his way into the squad following his recent switch from Dewsbury Rams.

However, he faces stiff competition from in-form duo Danny Cowling and Sam Smeaton, who both impressed in last week’s victory.