Opportunity knocks for Batley trialists

Shaun Squires attempts to break away from the Featherstone defence and set up a Batley attack last Sunday.
Shaun Squires attempts to break away from the Featherstone defence and set up a Batley attack last Sunday.

Batley Bulldogs are set to hand three trialists an opportunity during Sunday’s pre-season friendly against a Heavy Woollen Select team.

The trio will be keen to follow in the footsteps of Tom Thackray, who signed professional terms with the club following a successful trial, and has impressed in Batley’s opening two warm-up matches.

Batley are confident the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium pitch will beat the weather and are set to field a strong squad against a Heavy Woollen side coached by former Bulldogs favourite Danny Maun.

Cain Southernwood, Ayden Faal and new Batley club captain Luke Blake could all get a first run-out of the season.

Blake has recovered from two wrist operations in the close season but coach John Kear decided against risking the hooker for last Sunday’s friendly against Featherstone Rovers.

Faal had a terrific end to last season but already faces competition for his centre spot with new signings Shaun Ainscough and Shaun Squires both having impressed in the opening two friendlies.

Batley followed up their 18-16 Boxing Day derby victory over Dewsbury Rams with a terrific 26-6 success over Featherstone Rovers last Sunday.

Batley produced some impressive attacking rugby, while restricting much fancied Rovers to a solitary second half try.

Alistair Leak bagged a brace of tries, the latter of which came after a lovely passing move involving Scott Leatherbarrow, Ainscough, Brad Day, Alex Bretherton and Squires.

Sunday’s game (kick-off 2pm) also gives chance for several promising youngsters from the Heavy Woollen area chance to impress the Bulldogs coaching staff.