Bulldogs tame Lions to clinch first victory

Michael Ward bagged a brace of tries as Batley Bulldogs overcame Swinton Lions to pick up their first win of the Betfred Championship season. Picture: Paul Butterfield
Michael Ward bagged a brace of tries as Batley Bulldogs overcame Swinton Lions to pick up their first win of the Betfred Championship season. Picture: Paul Butterfield

Batley Bulldogs claimed their first Betfred Championship points of the season last Sunday as they overcame determined opponents Swinton Lions 48-28 at Salford’s AJ Bell Stadium

Batley recovered from conceding an early try to storm over for nine of their own, including a quick four-try blast early in the second half which swung the game in their favour.

The Lions started brightly and winger Mike Butt crashed over for an early unconverted try.

Batley responded well and having forced a repeat set, centre Lewis Galbraith capitalised to grab a try to level matters.

Batley took control in the build up to half-time and when Swinton dropped the ball just inside the Bulldogs half, Wayne Reittie scooped it up and raced 60 metres for a terrific try.

From Batley’s next attack, Adam Gledhill dummied his way over for their third try and Patch Walker converted.

A lovely handling move to the left ended with Galbraith dummying the last defender to grab his second try and Walker converted to put the Bulldogs 20-4 ahead.

Swinton hit back with a quickfire double of their own with Jack Hansen and Chris Hankinson crossing and Hankinson landed both conversions to reduce the half-time deficit to four points.

Batley hit another purple patch at the start of the second half.

A powerful Michael Ward drive was hauled down just short of the line but he didn’t have to wait long to score as Batley forced a repeat set and he crashed over between the posts to give Walker a simple conversion.

Another cracking Bulldogs move saw the impressive Galbraith make a half break before sending Dave Scott racing away and he drew the full-back to send Ward over for his second try with Walker again converting.

Dominic Brambani opted to run the ball on the last tackle and play was moved through several pairs of hands for Brad Day to score.

Scott collected a neat delayed pass by Walker and the Bulldogs full-back squeezed over for their eighth try and Walker’s goal stretched the lead to 42-16.

With the game seemingly won, Batley appeared to switch off and Swinton grabbed two quick fire tries.

Some sloppy tackling allowed Luke Waterworth to score following a quick tap penalty and Hankinson tagged on the conversion.

Swinton attacked again and second rower Matt Sarsfield was on the end of a passing move to grab his side’s fifth try and Hankinson was again successful with the conversion.

Batley had done the hard work and made sure of victory as they drove play close to the line and Alistair Leak produced a trademark dart from acting half-back to score the final try.

Walker added his sixth goal to ensure the Bulldogs had a happy return trip across the Pennines ahead of their first home game against Barrow on Sunday.