Sensational Bulldogs stun Centurions

Chris Ulugia scored two tries as Batley Bulldogs defeated Leigh.
Chris Ulugia scored two tries as Batley Bulldogs defeated Leigh.

Batley Bulldogs produced a sensational comeback to stun Leigh Centurions 24-22 in the opening Kingstone Press Championship game of the season.

Batley trailed 22-12 entering the final 10 minutes of a pulsating contest when Dominic Brambani launched a 40-20 kick to set up an attack.

Cain Southernwood’s lovely crossfield kick was gathered by Chris Ulugia, who grabbed his second try of the match to give the Bulldogs hope.

Shaun Ainscough came within inches of pouncing on a lovely Brambani kick to the in-goal area before Batley launched a last minute attack.

Ulugia broke the Leigh defence and slipped a lovely pass inside for Ainscough to race over. Pat Walker converted to level at 22-22.

Deep into stoppage time, Brambani launched a towering up and under which Rangi Chase spilled before pulling a chasing Batley attacker back.

Referee Gareth Hewer had no hesitation in awarding Batley a penalty and Walker hammered over the winning goal before the final hooter was greeted by jubilation among the Bulldogs players.

Although the game will be remembered for Batley’s stunning comeback, it was their hard work when playing up hill in the first half which laid the platform.

Andrew Dixon and Tom Armstrong grabbed first half tries for Leigh, both goaled by Martyn Ridyard, but Batley hit back through James Brown and Ulugia, with Walker and Brambani converting.

Leigh looked to have taken a stranglehold on the game with second half tries by Micky Higham and Ryan Brierley, together with another Ridyard goal, but Batley showed terrific spirit to battle back and snatch a dramatic victory.

Batley Bulldogs: D Scott; Reittie, Squires, Ulugia, Ainscough; Southernwood, Brambani; Hirst, Blake, Gledhill, S Scott, Chandler, Walker. Subs: Lillycrop, Davey, Brown, Day.

Leigh Centurions: Chase; Higson, Worthington, Armstrong, Kay; Ridyard, Brierley; Moi Moi, Higham, Weston, Hansen, Dixon, Emmitt. Subs: Foster, Spencer, MAitui, Hopkins.

Referee: Gareth Hewer (Whitehaven).

Attendance: 1,678.