Championship round-up: Batley Bulldogs edge past York Knights to claim fifth successive league win

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Batley Bulldogs edged past York Knights to claim a fifth successive league win - which has put them in joint-second position with Sheffield Eagles in the Championship table.

In a low-scoring affair, tries from Elliot Kear, Kieran Buchanan and Dale Morton were enough to secure the valuable two points - something which they have failed to accomplish only once in their last eight Championship outings.

Featherstone aside, who recorded their 13th consecutive league victory thanks to a comfortable 64-6 win over Barrow Raiders, Batley are the division’s form side.

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But this 14-8 triumph, over a determined yet injury-ravaged York side, was anything but comfortable. The victory, however, was poignant in that it occurred on the same day as the Jo Cox Memorial Rugby Match – an event to celebrate the life of the former Batley and Spen MP who was murdered on July 16, 2016.

The Fox's Biscuits Stadium, Batley.The Fox's Biscuits Stadium, Batley.
The Fox's Biscuits Stadium, Batley.

Fans were allowed into the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium for free but it was the visiting supporters, at the bottom of the famous hill, who were cheering first when James Glover showed a dummy and went over to open the scoring.

The try put York on course to extend their recent good form at Mount Pleasant. They had not lost at Batley since 2013.

Glover then offloaded to AJ Towse but the Knights were prevented from extending their advantage as the referee deemed the pass to have gone forwards.

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In a tight contest, the home side got on level terms just before the hooter after Buchanan provided a great assist for Kear who scored spectacularly in the corner. Jimmy Meadows missed the conversion which would have edged the Bulldogs in front just before the break.

But they only had to wait eight minutes into the second period to take lead. Taking advantage from a Ukama Ta’ai knock-on, Josh Woods found Buchanan who went over.

Meadows missed the conversion again but he added an extra two moments later to punish a sloppy York knock-on.

The 10-4 lead was cut to 10-8 when Jesse Dee went over for the third successive game. But Myles Harrison missed the conversion to level the score.

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York pressed for a try which would have ultimately handed them victory, but Morton crossed down the right with barely 30 seconds remaining on the clock to continue the Bulldogs splendid run.

The victory puts them level on points with the Eagles after the South Yorkshire side suffered a surprising 40-26 loss at home to Whitehaven.

In the two other games on Sunday, Keighley Cougars and Widnes Vikings also failed to clinch wins at home after 32-28 and 26-18 defeats at the hands of Swinton Lions and London Broncos respectively.

In Saturday’s game, Halifax Panthers lost 28-22 at Toulouse, while Bradford Bulls beat Newcastle Thunder, 28-12, in the north east on Friday night.