Batley boss returns from French adventure

Batley Bulldogs coach Craig Lingard had an extended spell in France following his side’s trip to Toulouse after leaving his passport on the plane.
Lingard only realised the passport had fallen out of a laptop bag after exiting the plane and he was not allowed back on to recover it.
It meant he had to travel to Paris in the wake of the Bulldogs’ gutsy 34-14 defeat and only arrived back in England at Tuesday lunchtime, at a personal cost of £750.
Lingard explained: “It was a long, drawn-out trip and I had to go to the British Embassy in Paris to get some emergency flight documents.
“What happened was that I had my passport in the front of my laptop bag and put it in the overhead compartment.
“It was only when I got off that I realised the passport had fallen out, and when I turned round and tried to get straight back on I was refused.
“There was a communication barrier there because I don’t speak French and they didn’t speak English. I’d have been alright in Spain, because I know enough to get by.
“It was a bit annoying because it could quite easily have been sorted. I knew where the passport would be and it wasn’t a case of needing to go back on and search for it.
“It was then difficult getting passed through all the automated systems when you phone the airlines, but eventually I managed to get back in time for training, although it was an expensive mistake.”
Lingard could at least take solace in an encouraging Batley display in France that saw them lead at the break despite a number of absentees.
He said: “In the first half defensively we were outstanding and challenged them a bit with ball in hand as well.
“We could have challenged them a bit more and built up some more points, but to be 8-6 ahead away at Toulouse when we were missing a few players was a massive effort.
“We didn’t quite get the start to the second half we wanted and they started to dominate possession.
“The last 15 minutes we played without the ball and they’re too good a team to be allowed that.
“Normally when you concede a try you can break it down and see where you went wrong, but there was one where Mark Kheirallah threw a 35-yard pass from left to right.
“That’s one of the hardest passes in Rugby League – I’m not sure I can kick it that far – and it was right on the button.
“We always say that we want to make it hard for teams to come through the middle of us and to earn their tries, and sometimes you have to take your hat off to people with skill like that – it was an absolutely world class play and try.”
Winger Johnny Campbell sustained a recurrence of his troublesome ankle injury in the defeat, but trained last week, while centre Jack Bradbury is out of the Whitehaven game with a rib issue.
Halfback Ben White dislocated his finger again and Tom Lillycrop sustained a significant bruise “from shin to thigh”.
But Lingard was hoping that the week off with no Challenge Cup game would allow minor injuries to heal in time to face Whitehaven this Sunday.