When the Championship fixtures were released, the opening month looked to have been particularly cruel to Batley.
Not only did they start by welcoming the hot favourites Leigh, but contests with Featherstone, Sheffield and Halifax confirmed a daunting opening month for the Bulldogs.
It’s fair to say that, by the end of the month, most Batley fans would have laughed at the prospect of being one point off the top of the table. Not even the most ambitious in Batley’s small but passionate fan base could have anticipated such a superb start.
Yet as we head into the second month of the year, Batley sit proudly, and deservedly, just one point behind Bradford and a place outside of the top four following wins over Leigh, Sheffield and Halifax, all of whom finished in the top four last year.
Their form has been so impressive that some bookmakers have made them third favourites to win the Championship!
So what’s the key to their success?
“What we’ve demonstrated is a level of consistency in our performances,” beamed head coach John Kear.
“When you get that consistency you get the results as well on the league ladder.”
Kear admitted that his team have exceeded expectations so far, but believes they have far more to offer yet.
“I think most people would have settled for that start,” he said.
“If you work hard and cover your mates’ errors you give yourself half a chance.
“They are getting better. From game one against Leigh we’ve seen improvements. We saw improvement last week and even more today. These lads don’t know how good they can be, so they’ve just got to keep working had and achieve that.”