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Match Report: Batley Bulldogs 72-0 Gateshead Thunder

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Tetley's Challenge Cup Third Round, Stadium, 7 April 2013

John Kear's rotated side had no difficulties this afternoon in despatching Gateshead Thunder to join the big-boys in the draw for the Fourth Round of the Challenge Cup tomorrow. A sorry performance from the visitors never looked likely to provide the platform for a shock result and the Bulldogs were boosted by an excellent return from Gareth Moore and outstanding performances throughout the team but most notably from Tom Hemingway and Alex Rowe.

The hosts made a sluggish start, more often than not losing the ball early in the tackle or overcooking the final pass, despite enjoying virtually total possession. It became clear fairly early on that the Thunder's best hope was of a damage limitation exercise, but as the hosts gradually improved, a cricket score always looked a distinct possibility once the floodgates opened in the 11th minute. The Bulldogs' opening score ironically started with an error as Benn Hardcastle's bomb confused Miles Greenwood and Greg Johnson, and as the ball bounced high with no-one underneath it, Greenwood thankfully picked it up and hared off on a 50 metre run which skittled the Gateshead defence. With the visitors stretched, Johnny Campbell was on hand to finish off a sweeping move. Hemingway converted the first of his perfect twelve conversions and the Bulldogs were off and running. Just two minutes later, Batley were in again, this time thankful for the tenacity of George Flanagan who managed to evade his markers and feed in Hemingway to push the score on to 12-0.

The one-way traffic continued and the Bulldogs were on the board again on 20 minutes - the excellent Ash Lindsay looked to have been held up by a staunch defensive effort from Gateshead, but he twisted clear to touch the ball down over the line and three minutes later Danny Maun benefited from good work from Moore before swatting off his marker to touch down and give the 'Dogs a very comfortable 24-0 lead.

On 28 minutes, Gateshead came close to registering on the scoreboard, but winger Blades knocked on in the corner with the try-line in sight, but it was once again the hosts who finished the half strongly and they added to the scoring on 38 minutes when Maun forced the ball free from Thunder possession and Ayden Faal picked up the loose ball to stroll in for the Bulldogs' fifth try of the afternoon.


If the Thunder were hoping that the hosts would take their foot off the pedal after the interval, they were to be disappointed, as a further seven tries were added to the Bulldogs' tally. Within a minute of the restart, Maun added his second try of the afternoon as Faal and Moore skilfully combined to create the opening. There was further misery for the north-east side on 49 minutes when the excellent Rowe burst through their defensive line, and Hemingway was on his shoulder to score his second try of a very productive afternoon.

The tries continued to flow with regularity as Gateshead wilted under the incessant home pressure. On 51 minute, Rowe again powered through supported by Greenwood who fed in Moore for a try on his return and on 59 minutes Moore thought he'd returned the favour as Greenwood touched down, but referee Laughton adjudged that the final pass had been forward. However, just three minutes later, fast hands from Moore and Maun combined to provide a legitimate try for Campbell as the score ticked on to 54-0.

On 68 minutes, with Thunder pushing forward, Moore picked up a stray pass and ran the ball home 40 metres to bring up sixty points, before Keegan Hirst and Greenwood combined to get George Flanagan in. The hosts saved the best try to the end though - Johnson burst through the Gateshead defence and his mazy 30 metre run was enough to wrap up the most comprehensive of victories at 72-0. All eyes will now turn to tomorrow's Fourth Round draw and a potentially lucrative tie against Super League opposition. We can hope!

BATLEY BULLDOGS: 1 Greenwood, 21 G. Johnson, 3 Walton, 4 Maun, 5 Campbell, 7 Moore, 23 Hemingway, 15 Hirst, 14 Flanagan, 25 Leary, 17 L. Walmsley, 13 Lindsay, 20 Faal. Interchange: 8 B. Smith, 11 Bretherton, 19 Rowe, 24 Whitmore.

T: Campbell 2, Hemingway 2, Lindsay, Maun 2, Faal, Moore 2, Flanagan, G. Johnson

G: Hemingway 12

GATESHEAD THUNDER: 1 Hardcastle, 2 N. Johnson, 3 Neilson, 4 Brown, 5 Blades, 21 Parker, 7 Hardcastle, 8 J. Smith, 19 Stamp, 10 Welton, 11 Payne, 12 Cockburn, 13 Pullen. Interchange: 15 Sheldon, 16 Stearman, 18 Condron, 20 Stoker.

SCORING SEQUENCE: 6-0, 12-0, 18-0, 24-0, 30-0, HT, 36-0, 42-0, 48-0, 54-0, 60-0, 66-0, 72-0

REFEREE: Ronnie Laughton (Barnsley)

MAN OF THE MATCH: Tom Hemingway (Batley Bulldogs) - despite stiff opposition all over the park for man of the match, Hemingway continued his outstanding form with a personal haul of 32 points.

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