Batley Bulldogs overcame ‘adversity’ to beat Widnes Vikings says Mark Moxon

Batley Bulldogs’ head coach Mark Moxon says his side overcame “adversity” to beat Widnes Vikings and secure their place in the draw for the sixth round of the Challenge Cup later this evening (Monday).
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Josh Woods was unavailable for the fifth round tie due to his head injury assessment from last weekend’s 1895 Cup defeat at Sheffield Eagles before Moxon lost the services of Luke Blake in the pre-match warm-up at the DCLB Stadium with a groin issue.

A “weakened” Bulldogs then found themselves 8-0 down at half-time before they surged back into the contest - and into the last-16 - thanks to second half tries from Kieran Buchanan, Dave Gibbons and Luke Cooper, as Batley won 18-14.

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Moxon said: “First of all we lost Josh Woods with the HIA from last week so he didn’t play, so we gave young Dave Gibbons a shot at half. We gave Jonny Mitsias a run in the centre but then we lost Luke Blake in the warm up with a sore groin. We had to have a reshuffle with our 18th man George Senior coming onto the bench and Browny (James Brown) starting.

Batley Bulldogs' head coach Mark MoxonBatley Bulldogs' head coach Mark Moxon
Batley Bulldogs' head coach Mark Moxon

“It was a little bit of adversity. I don’t think we were great in the first half. I thought they got us in the washing machine a few times and we struggled to handle them. We couldn’t get out of our own half at the start of the game.”

However, Moxon was pleased with his side’s response in the second half.

He said: “What we did really well was just hanging in there and kept turning up for each other and kept defending with our lives. We put a few things right at half time. There were a few choice words and we sorted a few things out. In the second half we were much, much better. We came out with a lot of intent and we were a lot more aggressive in how we went about our work.

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“All we needed was one of our opportunities. We had plenty of opportunities in the first half but we just needed to get one over the line. We may have got a bit of fortune for our first try, but once we got that the floodgates opened and we scored two tries quickly after that.

“We were much better in the second half, we just stayed in the game. Ultimately, we did it the Batley way, which is to stay in the game, stay in the grind and when we get our chances, we will take them. That’s what we did in the end and that is what we are wanting to build on moving forward.”

Batley are ball number 1 in the draw for the sixth round of the Challenge Cup, which takes place at 6.30pm this evening (Monday) and can be watched on the BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website.