Bulldogs claim derby bragging rights over Dewsbury

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Batley Bulldogs ended Dewsbury’s hopes of finishing the first part of the Kingstone Press Championship campaign in fifth place as they recorded a 16-12 victory at Tetley’s Stadium.

Batley saved their best performance for their final round of the regular season to snatch the Heavy Woollen bragging rights and deny Dewsbury a hat-trick of derby wins.

Rams fans arrived with high hopes of finishing fifth, following Whitehaven’s shock win at Featherstone on Saturday night but it was Batley who adapted better to the wet conditions.

Batley piled on early pressure and Shaun Squires gathered a loose ball only to knock on when stretching for the line, while Luke Blake was held up by solid Rams defence.

Matty Wildie was denied at the other end following a run from acting half-back, before Luke Adamson drove the ball in and flipped a pass out to send Wildie over but play was brought back for a forward pass.

Stephen Nash was sin-binned following a fracas immediately after being introduced as substitute and tempers threatened to boil over as referee Dave Merrick was forced to speak to both captains.

It was while down to 12 men that Dewsbury broke the deadlock with a 26th minute try.

The Rams spread play quickly left and Dalton Grant stormed down the left touchline.

Grant was clattered by a head high tackle from Batley full-back Johnny Campbell but managed to plant the ball down for the opening score.

Campbell was sin-binned for the foul, while Kieran Hyde pulled his difficult conversion attempt wide.

Batley immediately hit back when Anthony Nicholson’s superb cut out pass sent Alex Brown in at the left corner and Scott Leatherbarrow landed a superb touchline goal to edge the Bulldogs ahead.

Alex Brown slipped when in an excellent position to grab a second try soon after but Batley moved play back inside and when Dewsbury were penalised, Leatherbarrow tagged on the goal to send them into half-time with an 8-4 lead.

Dewsbury produced a much improved display after the break but were hampered by a hefty penalty county in favour of the visitors.

Luke Adamson’s excellent long pass sent Grant over for his second try and although Hyde was unable to convert, it set up a pulsating final half hour.

Leatherbarrow edged Batley back in front with a penalty but Dewsbury looked to have scored a decisive try 18 minutes from time.

Nathan Conroy shimmied round his marker on the last tackle and produced a lovely grubber kick to the right corner.

Campbell tried to shepherd the ball dead but Dale Morton dived on it to score.

Hyde again missed a difficult touchline conversion.

Batley responded well and a fine passing move saw play moved left and loanee Chris Ulugia beat his marker and raced away to dive over for a great try.

Leatherbarrow was unable to convert but added a penalty soon after as Batley led 16-12.

Dewsbury needed a converted try to snatch fifth spot and mounted a dramatic last minute attack.

They moved play left and Grant was tackled just short of the line before Karl Pryce’s kick was hacked dead.

Dewsbury gathered the drop out and launched an up and under from the last play of the game but Batley won possession and their players leapt for joy as the final hooter sounded.

Dewsbury Rams: Fieldhouse; Morton, Pryce, Crookes, Grant; Hyde, Aaron Brown; Jackson, Wildie, Aizue, Hale, Farrell, L Adamson. Subs: B Smith, Conroy, Muranka, Nash.

Batley Bulldogs: Campbell; Ainscough, Squires, Ulugia, Alex Brown; Nicholson, Leatherbarrow; Gledhill, Blake, Rowe, Bretherton, Day, Chandler. Subs: Leak, Hesketh, Lillycrop, J Brown.

Referee: Dave Merrick.

Attendance: 1, 319.