Kear praises character of Bulldogs team

Batley's Chris Ulugia scored two tries against Leigh.
Batley's Chris Ulugia scored two tries against Leigh.

Batley coach John Kear praised his side’s commitment and desire after they battled back from 22-12 down to defeat Championship title favourites Leigh Centurions.

Speaking after Sunday’s superb victory, Kear said: “The most pleasing thing was the character shown by my team.

“We lost players through injury. Adam Gledhill and Sam Scott couldn’t go back out and Joe Chandler had broken his nose, so we were really down to the bare bones.

“We had used our last interchange with 10 minutes left but we just hung in there and somehow found a way to win, which is all credit to the players, who were marvellous.

“We scored some good tries but the most pleasing thing was the defensive application and the attitude and character of the players.”

Batley had been put under the cosh for much of the second half until a brilliant 40-20 kick by scrum-half Dominic Brambani gave the Bulldogs momentum going into the final 10 minutes.

Kear added: “Brambani’s 40-20 was the turning point in the game. Leigh had 10 sets to our five and they had three penalties on the bounce so had dominated the third quarter but we were fortunate to come away with a try from the 40-20 and that lifted us.

“We felt buoyant and energised and even though we were down on numbers and fatigued, you felt there was only going to be one winner after that.”

Kear was also full of praise for centre Chris Ulugia, who scored a brace of tries and set up a dramatic late score for Shaun Ainscough, which allowed Batley to draw level.

Kear added: “We know Chris is a very strong fella and is a handful with his direct running but you have got to get the ball to him and that is credit to our half-backs, especially Cain Southernwood, who was playing down the left side.”

Having drawn level at 22-22, Batley were awarded an injury-time penalty which allowed them to snatch victory.

Kear said: “Dominic Brambani, Patch Walker, Cain Southernwood, Dave Scott and Shaun Squires are all good kickers and were putting their hands up to take that winning kick but Pat Walker got the glory and deservedly so because he had a top game.”