Refereeing decision denies Batley

Chris Ulugia scored against his parent club but was unable to prevent Batley slipping to a 17-16 defeat at Odsal.
Chris Ulugia scored against his parent club but was unable to prevent Batley slipping to a 17-16 defeat at Odsal.

Batley Bulldogs were cruelly denied a famous win at Bradford Bulls by a crucial refereeing decision 13 minutes from full-time last Sunday.

With the Bulldogs leading the crunch Championship clash 12-8, Bradford scrum-half Lewis Charnock kicked to the in goal area.

Dominic Brambani appeared to ground the ball for a goalline drop-out but was judged to have dropped it and Jay Pitts pounced to touch down.

Referee Joe Cobb angered Batley by awarding the try and Kurt Haggerty kicked the conversion to edge Bradford ahead before tagging on a penalty soon after.

Batley showed great heart and looked to have snatched a draw when Pat Walker kicked to the left and Cain Southernwood touched down.

Walker, whose last-gasp penalty snatched Batley a draw when the teams met earlier in the season, was unable to convert and the sides were level once more.

Charnock sent a drop goal attempt wide but with just five minutes remaining Haggerty landed a one pointer to break Batley hearts.

Bradford dominated early on and took a 16th minute lead when Charnock kicked right and James Clare leapt above opposite number Alex Brown to gather and score.

Bradford struck again when Charnock fed Alex Mellor to create an overlap for Clare to grab his 16th try of the season in the corner.

Haggerty was wide with both conversion attempts before Batley hit back in style.

James Brown latched onto James Davey’s pass but was held close before Batley replied.

Walker and Chris Ulugia linked to send Alex Brown scampering down the left and he sent the supporting Southernwood over for a try against his former club, which Walker converted.

Ulugia, who is on a season long loan from Bradford, then struck with a try against his parent club.

The centre produced a powerful run to storm over for an unconverted try as Batley led 10-8 at half-time.

Walker kicked a 55th minute penalty after Brambani had set up another Batley attack with a 40-20.

Bradford piled on the pressure but Batley appeared to be holding on as Wayne Reittie tackled a Bulls attacker in the in-goal area.

Brambani looked to have fielded Charnock’s dangerous kick but when the ball came loose, play continued and Pitts pounced for the late score.

Southernwood’s equalising try was unable to earn Batley a deserved point as Haggerty’s drop goal sealed Bradford’s 17-16 win which sees them leapfrog the Bulldogs.