Batley fight back to defeat Rams in Blackpool

Dewsbury's Matt Groat runs at Batley's James Brown and Tom Lillycrop during Sunday's Summer Bash derby in Blackpool.
Dewsbury's Matt Groat runs at Batley's James Brown and Tom Lillycrop during Sunday's Summer Bash derby in Blackpool.

Batley Bulldogs fought back from a poor start to defeat Dewsbury Rams 28-24 in the Summer Bash in sunny Blackpool last Sunday.

The result leaves the Heavy Woollen rivals with contrasting fortunes going into the final eight matches of the regular season.

Victory saw Batley move above Bradford and Featherstone, who both lost over the Summer Bash weekend, and they now lie third in the Kingstone Press Championship.

The Rams, who led twice in an enthralling derby clash, are now just two points above the relegation zone.

Dewsbury capitalised on Batley’s woeful start to race into a 12-0 lead after as many minutes.

A penalty put the Rams on attack and after Dalton Grant was held close to the line, Jason Crookes forced his way over and planted the ball down under a host of Bulldogs defenders, with Paul Sykes converting.

Batley looked to hit back but a Dom Brambani pass went to ground before Chris Ulugia offloaded to winger Shaun Ainscough but he was tackled short by the covering Rams defence.

Joel Farrell had a terrific game at hooker for Dewsbury and he forced Batley to knock on with a fierce tackle which gave the Rams excellent field position.

When Dewsbury attacked from the scrum, Farrell offloaded to Sykes, who produced a lovely side step to race through the Batley defence and over for a cracking try which the stand off improved.

Dale Morton gathered a dangerous kick to the in-goal area but Batley were beginning to come more into the game and struck back with a well worked try.

Cain Southernwood kicked through and the ball bounced up to wrong foot the Rams defence and Ulugia gathered to race over wide out.

Alistair Leak spun out of a tackle and looked to have scored but the video referee showed superb Dewsbury defending had prevented the Bulldogs hooker from grounding the ball.

Batley attacked again and Brambani’s lovely kick right on the last tackle bounced perfectly for Greg Minikin to gather and race behind the posts to give Pat Walker a simple goal.

Grant was alert to gather Brambani’s dangerous kick to the in-goal area, while Luke Blake and Ulugia were both tackled close to the line as Batley piled on the pressure.

Walker slotted over a 35th minute penalty goal to level matters before a dramatic end to the first half saw Dewsbury regain the lead.

Sykes launched an attempted 40-20 downfield but the ball bounced awkwardly for Ainscough and Rams winger Dale Morton was alert to gather and shimmy round full-back Dave Scott for a cracking try, which Sykes improved.

Jack Teanby’s fierce drive set up a good Rams attack at the start of the second half and when Batley were penalised, Sykes slotted over the goal to give his side a 20-12 lead.

James Brown had a terrific game after coming off the bench, continually driving Batley forward and he was rewarded with a 49th minute try when the prop crashed over from close range and Walker converted to reduce the deficit to two points.

Two minutes later, Grant stepped out of a tackle in an attempt to intercept Brambani’s long pass only to knock on.

Wayne Reittie scooped the ball up but lost it diving for the corner and play was brought back for the first offence and Batley capitalised when Tom Lillycrop crashed over and Walker converted as Batley led for the first time to set up a pulsating final quarter.

Dewsbury stormed back and forced a goalline drop out before Sykes and Josh Guzdek linked brilliantly to send Grant diving in at the corner to level matters. Sykes’s conversion attempt was narrowly wide.

Walker hammered over a 40 metre penalty goal to edge Batley back ahead with 15 minutes to go and he was on hand to slot over a drop goal soon after.

Dewsbury had a chance to win it late on when Morton gathered a long pass to the right only to be clattered into touch by a terrific Ulugia tackle.

Brambani slotted over a drop goal with seconds remaining as Batley claimed a second derby win of the season.

Dewsbury Rams: Guzdek; Morton, Uaisele, Crookes, Grant; Sykes, Kain; Trout, Farrell, Groat, Grady, Spicer, L Adamson. Subs: Hemingway, Aaron Brown, Teanby, Muranka.

Tries: Crookes (3), Sykes (12), Morton (38), Grant (60).

Goals: Sykes (4/5).

Batley Bulldogs: Scott; Reittie, Minikin, Ulugia, Ainscough; Southernwood, Brambani; Hirst, Leak, Gledhill, Chandler, Blake, Harrison. Subs: Walker, Lillycrop, J Brown, Marano.

Tries: Ulugia (18), Minikin (25), J Brown (49), Lillycrop (53).

Goals: Brambani (0/1). Walker (5/5)

Drop Goals: Walker (73). Brambani (79)

Referee: Tom Grant.