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Match Report: Batley Bulldogs 30-4 Workington Town

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by Mark Ward

Northern Rail Cup Quarter Final, Stadium, 16 June 2013

John Kear's side earned a place in the last four of this competition today with a workmanlike display enough to despatch their Cumbrian visitors. The Bulldogs failed to fire on all cylinders in the same way they did at Swinton last weekend, but they controlled the game and may well have nilled Workington except for a disappointing concentration lapse in the second-half. Returning dual-reg forward Dan Fleming was outstanding and centre Jason Walton was also in the thick of most of the hosts' meaningful attacks while Ben Black and Gareth Moore ticked over well in the centre of the park. Town, by contrast, worked hard throughout, but rarely troubled the Batley line although both Brett Carter and Kayle Connor showed up well with good contributions.

Despite facing up the slope in the first half, the Bulldogs started brightly and almost opened up the scoring in the 5th minute, but Johnny Campbell was bundled into touch at the corner at the conclusion of an expansive move. However, the hosts had served warning of their intentions and they posted the opening try on 14 minutes when Black pierced the Town defensive line with a looping run before releasing Fleming who charged towards the line, swatting away Carter en route to score. Moore ably converted the extras to give Batley the early advantage. The hosts continued to dominate proceedings and once again served warning prior to another try. On 29 minutes, George Flanagan was held up on the line after a period of sustained pressure, but just three minutes later, Moore launched a high bomb to the corner and Greg Johnson outsmarted the veteran Mark Calderwood to nip in at the corner. This time Moore was unable to add on the conversion, but the Bulldogs had now established a stranglehold on the game.

It could have been even better for the host on 37 minutes - great strength from Walton, persistence from Alex Rowe and a fast pass to Johnson allowed the winger to cross again, but referee George Stokes pulled the play back for a forward pass as the Bulldogs concluded the half in the ascendancy.


With a ten-point advantage and 40 minutes coming down the slope, the half-time mood seemed positive amongst the home support, and although the Bulldogs started sluggishly after the break, they gradually took an unassailable grip on the game as it wore on. Workington were not helped early on when Andy Morris suffered an ankle injury that resulted in Liam Walmsley going on report for a third-man tackle. The hosts then had a second try chalked off on 47 minutes when Alex Rowe was adjudged to have released Keegan Hirst over the line with a forward pass, then on 54 minutes Flanagan was again held up on the line due to a staunch defensive effort from Town as the Bulldogs continued to press.

The breakthrough finally arrived in spectacular fashion on 59 minutes - Campbell intercepted a sloppy pass in his own 10 metre zone and then hared the length of the pitch to score a dazzling try that all but broke Workington's resistance. Moore's dependability ensured an extra two points and the Bulldogs edged into a comfortable 16-0 advantage. Three minutes later, the hosts were in again. This time Black interchanged passes with John Davies to skittle the Town defence to score although admittedly there did seem to be the hint of a forward pass in the final stages of the move which was missed by the officials. Moore's conversion pushed the score on to 22-0.

With just ten minutes remaining, the Bulldogs looked good value for a clean sheet, so it must have been galling for their head coach on 71 minutes when an innocuous Workington kick on the last caught Miles Greenwood lacking concentration allowing Elliott Miller to steal in and ground the ball. Connor failed with the extras but Town had at least given their small band of travelling supporters something to cheer.

The frivolity soon ended for the visitors however - on 74 minutes a high shot on John Davies allowed Moore to slot over two points and then in the dying moments, Rowe's powerful burst was backed up by Black who then threw an excellent reverse pass allowing Moore a clear path to the line to secure the win and a place in the semi-final.

In the final analysis, the Bulldogs controlled this game from start to finish. They secured the victory without breaking too many pots, but they also scored some tries of real quality to give the club a boost ahead of Thursday's crucial clash with the Sheffield Eagles in the Championship.

BATLEY BULLDOGS: 1 Greenwood, 5 Campbell, 3 Walton, 20 Faal, 21 Johnson, 6 Black, 7 Moore, 8 Smith, 9 Mennell, 26 Fleming, 11 Bretherton, 17 Walmsley, 13 Lindsay. Interchange: 14 Flanagan, 15 Hirst, 16 Davies, 19 Rowe.

T: Fleming, Johnson, Campbell, Black, Moore

G: Moore 5

WORKINGTON TOWN: 1 Carter, 2 Miller, 3 Mossop, 4 Morris, 5 Calderwood, 24 Connor, 21 C. Phillips, 8 Dowes, 9 Mattinson, 14 Coward, 11 B. Phillips, 17 Shackley, 13 Lupton. Interchange: 7 Forber, 10 Thackray, 15 Acton, 19 Robinson.

T: Miller

SCORING SEQUENCE: 6-0, 10-0, HT, 16-0, 22-0, 22-4, 24-4, 30-4

REFEREE: George Stokes

MAN OF THE MATCH: Dan Fleming (Batley Bulldogs) - outstanding work-rate and go-forward helped swing the game his side's way.

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Thanks for the report Mark.

Looking forward to the game on Thursday.It's on the computer on ####### (Premier Sports)so will be up early to watch it.Just hope it doesn't turn out like it did the last time they played Sheffield at the Mount, ahead by about twenty points and lost the game.Hopefully they play against the slope in first half this time.

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