Kear faces selection headache for opener

Jordan Grayston is one of three players Batley have used to kick goals in pre-season.
Jordan Grayston is one of three players Batley have used to kick goals in pre-season.

Batley Bulldogs coach John Kear admits he faces a selection headache with the new Kingstone Press Championship just a fortnight away.

Kear is enjoying this best pre-season since joining Batley and the Bulldogs play their final warm-up match against North Wales Crusaders on Sunday (kick off 2.30pm).

Batley start their Championship campaign at home to Workington Town on Sunday February 15 and Kear admits many of the 17 places for the opening fixture are up for grabs.

Kear said: “I honestly couldn’t say who the starting 17 will be and a number of players are throwing their hat into the ring.

“Young Tom Thackray has come from nowhere and is playing really well, which is a real bonus for us and he is getting better.”

Thackray signed professional terms for Batley having been handed a trial from Normanton Knights and has excelled in pre-season.

Kear has yet to decide who Batley’s first choice goalkicker will be this season, with three in contention.

The coach added: “Jordan Grayston kicked against Dewsbury, Scott Leatherbarrow took over against Featherstone and Cain Southernwood last Sunday.

“It’s not only competition for places but also for the number one goalkicker.

“They all like goalkicking as it allows a player to accumulate the points. Competition for places brings out the best in players.

“I couldn’t tell you which 17 I will select for the Workington game. Hopefully things will materialise against the Crusaders and also in training.”

Hooker and new club captain Luke Blake will finally get chance to stake his claim for a place when he plays his first pre-season game against the Crusaders.