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Match Report: Batley Bulldogs 30-16 Whitehaven

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The Bulldogs reclaimed second spot in the Kingstone Press Cider Championship with a scrappy defeat of Whitehaven on Sunday afternoon.


by Mark Ward

Kingstone Press Cider Championship, Stadium, 14 April 2013

In amongst the current speculation and counter-speculation surrounding the future of head coach John Kear, the Bulldogs entertained Whitehaven this afternoon, knowing that victory would propel them back to the second rung of the league ladder. Including dual-registered forwards Anthony Mullally and Jacob Fairbank, the hosts overcame the early loss of influential half-back Ben Black to secure the win, with centre Jason Walton the key performer with two first-half tries. The visiting Cumbrians started strongly, but failed to convert their good share of possession into points and ultimately paid the price as the strong-finishing Bulldogs eventually deprived them of a bonus point.

Whitehaven were quick out of the blocks and, when the hosts knocked on from the scrum base on 8 minutes, the Cumbrians took full advantage as Crellin fed in Cameron on the touchline to score with Johnny Campbell hopelessly out of position and, although Jamie Rooney couldn't land the extras, the visitors were off and running. The Bulldogs gradually began to wrestle control of the game from their opponents and came close on 16 minutes when Tom Hemingway's exceptional 40/20 kick led to Walton just failing to pull in a poor pass from Miles Greenwood with the line yawning in front of him.

However, the home breakthrough finally arrived in the 22nd minute as Black gave the ball some air out to the right and Walton ran onto the pass superbly to breach the 'Haven defensive line with consummate ease. Hemingway converted and the hosts began to dominate proceedings. The Bulldogs continued to press and on 34 minutes, Walton scored again, in almost a carbon-copy of his earlier try profiting from Black's looping pass. Gareth Moore added the extras and the hosts had turned the game on its' head at 12-4. The news became even better for the home faithful on 39 minutes when Greg Johnson finished off a flowing, skilful move involving Moore, Black and Walton. Moore again converted, and the Bulldogs were good value for their commanding half-time advantage.


Despite facing up the slope in the second-half, the Bulldogs again started brightly; just moments after the restart Alex Rowe was so close to releasing Greenwood into the clear and then on 48 minutes, the excellent Campbell was in at the corner, but his effort was ruled out as he was in touch. On 50 minutes, Whitehaven regained the initiative after a good spell of pressure provided the platform for Lee Doran to ghost in from close range to score, ably converted by Rooney to reduce the arrears to a more manageable 18-10 scoreline.

The hosts hit back with a try of their own on 56 minutes when a melee on the 'Haven line resulted in Mullally being accredited with a try, and Moore once again landed the extras. The Bulldogs thought they were in again on 64 minutes to seal the win, but Johnson's effort was ruled out due to a forward pass from Hemingway. Johnson then nearly turned into the villain of the piece on 72 minutes when he made a hash of Rooney's kick in-goal but had presence of mind to get a foot to the loose ball and kick it dead. From the resultant set however, Southernwood's kick on the last inadvertently struck the crossbar and foxed the Bulldogs' defence allowing Rooney to touch down and convert his own try to bring the scoreline back to a nervy 24-16 and put 'Haven in with a bonus point shout.

That hope was extinguished with the last play of the game - Moore's kick to the try-line looked set to go dead until Greenwood acrobatically evaded his opponent who was shielding the ball dead to touch down just before the edge of the in goal area. It was left to Hemingway to bring the curtain down on events with a bonus-point-stealing conversion.

Once again, not the prettiest Bulldogs display, but another crucial win to maintain the hosts' genuine title contention.

BATLEY BULLDOGS: 1 Greenwood, 21 Johnson, 3 Walton, 20 Faal, 5 Campbell, 6 Black, 23 Hemingway, 8 Smith, 9 Mennell, 27 Mullally, 11 Bretherton, 16 Davies, 13 Lindsay. Interchange: 7 Moore, 15 Hirst, 19 Rowe, 26 Fairbank.

T: Walton 2, Johnson, Mullally, Greenwood

G: Hemingway 2, Moore 3

WHITEHAVEN: 1 Thorman, 24 Cameron, 12 Clark, 3 Parker, 2 Calvert, 6 Rooney, 7 Southernwood, 10 Jackson, 14 Newton, 19 Cullnean, 11 Doran, 15 Crellin, 13 Patterson. Interchange: 8 Houghton, 9 Sice, 22 Martins, 33 Pora.

T: Cameron, Doran, Rooney

G: Rooney 2

SCORING SEQUENCE: 0-4, 6-4, 12-4, 18-4, HT, 18-10, 24-10, 24-16, 30-16

REFEREE: Dave Merrick

MAN OF THE MATCH: Jason Walton (Batley Bulldogs) - an all-action performance from the powerful centre.

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Walton for me. I think the scoreline could easily have been more in Batleys favour had the ref not given all those forward passes. One of which I dont believe was forward at all. The others probably were but I've seen worse play on. Overall a fair result. Whitehaven didnt deserve a BP. Same as Hunslet. Dewsbury possibly closest to deserving one.

onwards and upwards!

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I think I posted this somewhere else. Walton was MOM for me. It was a tough scrappy game but there was no doubt the best team won on the day.

How's the website going James? You sorted the directory thing out yet?

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Google seems to suggest it refers to incumbents from Whitehaven too Spacecake. As does the Workington forum.

Are you a raspberry or strawberry man?

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