Matt Diskin celebrated Batley’s Boxing Day triumph over Dewsbury Rams by sharing a festive drink with family and friends on Monday afternoon.
The Bulldogs fought back from 12-4 down at half-time to run out 28-18 winners and retain the Roy Powell Trophy in Diskin’s first game as head coach.
Speaking after his side’s success, Diskin said: “I will go for my traditional Boxing Day drink with family and friends locally and it is nice to do off the back of a win.
“I was made aware are our record (on Boxing Day) numerous times and luckily enough we managed to maintain it but I thought Dewsbury played really well and put us under a lot of pressure in the first half, which we did well to handle and keep them to two tries.
“I’m really pleased. We have had a month to six weeks of learning new systems and structures, so we knew there were going to be plenty of errors which need fine tuning but the encouraging thing is the players have bought in to what we are trying to do.
“The really exciting thing is we have not done a lot with the ball, so when we do start passing the ball we are going to cause teams problems.
“Defensively, in the second half, we were almost perfect, we just switched off on the last play to concede late on but I’m really happy, there is plenty to work on and improve on and it is a good start for us.
“In the first half we made some errors, dropping the ball in collisions, which gifted Dewsbury field position and we gave away silly penalties but defensively we were okay and we know where we went wrong.”
Rams counterpart Glenn Morrison was forced to reflect on bad luck in the build up to the game which saw both half-backs withdraw from the squad and Dewsbury played with six substitutes as opposed to Batley’s eight.
Morrison revealed: “I thought we had got all our bad luck out last year but we had James Glover pull out ill in the week and then Andy Kain had to take his pregnant wife to hospital, which we found out 20 minutes before he was supposed to arrive, so we started the game with two different halves than which we had trained to play and that put us straight behind the eight ball.
“I think we did a lot of good stuff and forced some repeat sets but we dropped the ball at the wrong times, so there is plenty to work on.
“The wind played a factor with passes going behind players and both teams completed at something like 60 per cent which is not good but it was tough conditions.
“We had several players having a first hit out with us and I thought Hamish Barnes stood up really well, Robbie Ward was outstanding when he was on the field and Brad Foster had a great stint and I thought a lot of our news boys stood up, which is what you want to see.”
Rams full-back Josh Guzdek limped off with a knee injury early in the second half and Morrison added: “I thought that was the turning point. We were in front and had just got three repeat sets but Guzzy gets hurt and dropped the ball in that play and there was a 10 minute period when we had players playing out of position and they scored some tries which I don’t think would have been scored.
“Conditions meant you couldn’t play a wide brand of rugby and both teams had to play up the middle.
“We have been working hard on our rucks but they slowed us down more than we were able to but hopefully we can fine tune a few things before our first game.”