Kear hails players as Bulldogs show spirit

Batley's Keegan Hirst is wrapped up by the Whitehaven defence during last Sunday's Championship Shield clash.
Batley's Keegan Hirst is wrapped up by the Whitehaven defence during last Sunday's Championship Shield clash.

Batley Bulldogs coach John Kear has paid tribute to his side’s fighting spirit following last week’s crucial victory over Whitehaven.

Batley’s impressive 50-0 success leaves them two points above the Kingstone Press Championship Shield relegation zone and victory at London Broncos this Sunday should ensure survival.

However, such is the nature of the Shield competition that the Bulldogs have not yet given up on the hope of a top four finish.

Batley are level on 18 points with third-bottom Whitehaven and two ahead of second-bottom Hunslet with two games remaining, while they are three points behind fourth placed Workington Town.

Whitehaven face a Cumbrian derby at Workington on Sunday when the Bulldogs travel to third placed London, while Hunslet entertain Shield leaders Featherstone Rovers tomorrow night with something at stake for seven of the eight teams in the competition.

Batley had suffered an agonising defeat to Featherstone the previous week, when a mistake after the final hooter by Shaun Ainsough saw Rovers snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

The Bulldogs bounced back in style to the delight of Kear, who said: “The theme of the week was that people had questioned the effect the incident (Ainscough’s error) would have on us, whether it would fold us up or pull us together.

“They answered the question and the whole team played really well.”

Kear was impressed with Ainscough’s response adding: “He was error-free, he scored a try late on and he really applied himself very well. I was pleased for him and for the group as a whole. They showed great togetherness, great unity and great spirit. It was really rewarding for them.”