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Championship: Dewsbury Rams v Batley Bulldogs LIVE

Welcome to our live coverage of the Heavy Woollen Derby between Dewsbury Rams and Batley Bulldogs in the Betfred Championship.
The South Stand at FLAIR Stadium, home of Dewsbury Rams. Photo by Thomas Fynn.The South Stand at FLAIR Stadium, home of Dewsbury Rams. Photo by Thomas Fynn.
The South Stand at FLAIR Stadium, home of Dewsbury Rams. Photo by Thomas Fynn.

We will bring you all the major updates from highly anticipated clash as the local rivals meet in just round two of the 2024 league season at FLAIR Stadium. We will also have a match report and reaction from both camps after the final hooter on the Reporter Series website.

Championship: Dewsbury Rams v Batley Bulldogs LIVE

We are 20 minutes away from our 5pm kick off. Both sets of players are in the middle of their warm-ups in bright sunshine. 30 minutes ago it was hailing would you believe!

Of course the two sides didn't meet last season as the Rams were busy clawing their way back into the Championship following relegation in 2022. But before that, it's the Bulldogs who hold the form in this fixture, winning seven of the last eight league meetings. And they have not lost here since a 23-20 defeat by the Rams in 2018.

Batley also lost their first league game of the season at home to Featherstone Rovers despite racing into an 18-0 lead. However, they impressed in the 1895 Cup by getting out of the group stage - which included a stunning win over Fev - and also reached the last-16 of the Challenge Cup before bowing out to Super League's Challenge Cup last Saturday.

As mentioned, the Rams lost their opening league game of the season against Liam Finn's Fax side nearly a fortnight ago. Before that, they exited the 1895 Cup with disappointing defeats against Keighley Cougars and Bradford Bulls before responding with an encouraging performance against York Knights in the Challenge Cup, which they lost narrowly. They will therefore be hoping to pick up their first competitive victory of 2024 against their arch rivals today.

As for Batley, Elliot Kear comes in for Robbie Butterworth at full-back and George Senior comes into the centre for Johnny Mitsias. James Brown comes onto the bench.

For Dewsbury, it's just the one change to the 17 which lost their opening league game of the season at home to Halifax Panthers and that sees Ronan Dixon come onto the bench in place of Jackson Walker.

And this is how Batley line up:

Kear, Morton, Buchanan, Senior, J Burton, White, D Gibbons, Gledhill, Leak, Cooper, Manning, Walshaw, Moore

Interchanges: O Burton, Brown, J Gibbons, Ward

The team news is in. This is how Dewsbury line up:

O'Connor, Whiteley, Greensmith, M Walker, Carr, Hookem, Turner, Beckett, Davies, Bibby, Garside, Dawson, Collinson

Interchanges: Rush, Billington, Dixon, Hird

Hello everyone, good afternoon and welcome to FLAIR Stadium for the big one - the Rams versus the Bulldogs in the Betfred Championship. There isn't a game bigger for these two throughout the calendar year. It's Good Friday rugby league - will it be a Great Friday for Dewsbury or for Batley? Stay with us to find out! Kick off is at 5pm.