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Match Report: Batley Bulldogs 4-13 Huddersfield Giants (TCC4)

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Super League Huddersfield Giants survived a scare at the Stadium for the second time in three seasons as they came from behind to edge the Bulldogs 13-4 in a thrilling Cup tie.


by Mark Ward

Tetley's Challenge Cup Fourth Round, Stadium, 21 April 2013

If any neutral observers were doubtful of the progress currently made by the Batley club in recent seasons, those doubts were dispelled this afternoon as the Bulldogs represented the Kingstone Press Championship in outstanding fashion before eventually falling short against high-flying Super League outfit Huddersfield Giants. The hosts were superb and ensured that it was a particularly uncomfortable afternoon for Paul Anderson and his charges, who had to wait until the 57th minute to get on the scoreboard - a far cry from last week in Super League when they stuck 50 points on Hull Kingston Rovers. Add to this the fact that the Bulldogs had only three props in rotation and remained in contention until the dying seconds of the game, and this performance is put well and truly into perspective.

The three props in question - Keegan Hirst, Alex Rowe and Byron Smith - gave their all to the cause, ably supported by both George Flanagan and Paul Mennell from hooker, but it was Shaun Lunt who turned the tide in the visitors' favour later in the game with two opportunistic tries. Even then the Giants resorted to kicking late drop-goals and penalties to secure victory, belying the respect they showed to their lower-ranked hosts.

No doubt concerned by recent slow starts in their Championship games, the Bulldogs showed steely determination to match their opponents from the off today, resulting in a rough, tough first-half encounter, high on endeavour, but low on genuine scoring opportunities for either side. The stalemate suited the Bulldogs better, and they enjoyed the lion's share of both possession and territory coming down the slope, without genuinely threatening the Giants' line. The hosts came closest on 24 minutes - Ash Lindsay's industry was held up on the try-line before Danny Maun disappointingly slung the ball into touch with the Huddersfield defence stretched.

The half looked to end scoreless until Gareth Moore dropped an angled kick on a sixpence on 37 minutes and Gareth Potts was on hand to touch down in the corner to send the Bulldogs' faithful wild with delight. Although Moore missed the difficult conversion out wide, the hosts were good value for their 4-0 interval lead, and an impressive 40-minute nilling of the high-flying Giants.


Despite their outstanding first-half display, the thought of facing the Giants coming down the slope in the second period must have been a sobering thought for most Bulldogs supporters, but the home faithful needn't have worried. The hosts continued to trade blows with their opponents and, on 49 minutes they were awarded a penalty after a careless high-shot from Ukume Ta'ai. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs spurned the cast-iron two points on offer and Miles Greenwood knocked on in the second tackle following.

Gradually, the Giants began to up the ante, with Shaun Lunt's penetrative runs at the heart of their comeback - he skittled the hosts' defensive line on 51 minutes but with no end product, but six minutes later, Lunt dived in from close range to level the scoreline. Danny Brough missed the difficult conversion, but there was a sense round the ground that the time was turning. Two minutes later, the Giants took the lead - Brett Ferres' great run put the 'Dogs on the back foot before Lawrence chipped through the defensive line and before the kick could be mopped up, Lunt pounced for his second try. This time Brough added the extras, and the Super League side were at last in the ascendancy.

On 62 minutes Matt Dawson nearly added to the scoring as the Giants threatened to run riot, but Potts was on hand to bundle his opposite winger into touch with the line beckoning. At the other end, Jason Walton knocked on in the 65th minute and both sides continued to strike in the hope of landing a match-turning try. On 69 minutes, Jermaine McGilvary broke clear but tried to force a crazy forward pass with the hosts stretched and a minute later, substitute Johnny Campbell dropped a pass from Danny Maun with daylight in front of him as the game ebbed and flowed.

The game-breaking moment probably arrived on 76 minutes; the Giants knocked on on their own 20 metre line and from the resultant set, Ben Black passed to Potts in heavy traffic - clearly the wrong option as the Batley winger was bundled into touch. With the game in its' dying embers, the Giants paid their hosts the ultimate compliment - Danny Brough knocking over a 79th minute drop-goal to ensure victory, before kicking a last-gasp penalty to secure the hardest of hard-fought 13-4 wins.

John Kear and his side should take enormous credit for this gritty performance which demonstrated that, on their day, the Bulldogs can live with the best in the land. High praise indeed for "little old Batley", and a timely boost for the hosts ahead of a period of critical top-of-the-table clashes in their Championship campaign.

BATLEY BULLDOGS: 1 Greenwood, 2 Potts, 3 Walton, 4 Maun, 21 G. Johnson, 6 Black, 7 Moore, 8 Smith, 14 Flanagan, 19 Rowe, 11 Bretherton, 16 Davies, 13 Lindsay. Interchange: 5 Campbell, 9 Mennell, 15 Hirst, 17 L. Walmsley.

T: Potts

HUDDERSFIELD GIANTS: 12 Murphy, 5 McGilvary, 3 Cudjoe, 4 Wardle, 23 Dawson, 6 Brough, 1 Grix, 8 Crabtree, 9 Lunt, 10 Kopczak, 11 Ferres, 14 Lawrence, 19 Cording. Interchange: 13 Faiumu, 15 Patrick, 17 Ta'ai, 24 J. Johnson.

T: Lunt 2

G: Brough 2

D: Brough

SCORING SEQUENCE: 4-0, HT, 4-4, 4-10, 4-11, 4-13

REFEREE: Ben Thaler (Wakefield)

MAN OF THE MATCH: Shaun Lunt (Huddersfield Giants) - outstanding second-half performance to drag Huddersfield into the next round by the seat of their pants.

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I'll second that comment Richard,would have been great to be there.Great report Mark.

Any idea of the gate?It looked pretty full from the shots in the Mail.

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Thanks.I would have thought it was a bigger gate.Huddersfield don't get big gates so it was hardly likely that they would bring many supporters.Lets hope that the locals who attended are enticed back by the quality of footy that was served up.

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Yes hopefully. The club are producing great entertaining rugby. Moving forward with purpose. Stay away fans need to start attending. There was a great atmosphere yesterday. More like that please. :)

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Official attendance on The challenge cup website says 2067 but there looked to be more than that?



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