BATLEY Bulldogs proved a step too far for a battling Heavy Woollen Select XIII as they ran out comfortable 68-6 winners at the Fox's Biscuits Stadium.
The Bulldogs were given a real shock when the Heavy Woollen Select – welded together from amateur clubs in the area – raced into the lead with wingman George Croisdale building on some great approach work to score after only three minutes.
And with stand off Joel Gibson – son of Batley’s former notable player Carl Gibson – repeatedly getting involved the amateurs proved quite a challenge during the first half even though the professionals struck back in fine fashion to open up a 24-6 interval lead.
But professionalism counted increasingly as the game wore on and the Bulldogs made their mark with eight second half touchdowns and some splendid conversions from both Cain Southernwood and Scott Leatherbarrow.
The whole game proved to be such a thrilling challenge that both coaches – Batley’s John Kear and the Select’s coach, former Batley player Danny Maun, independently came up with the same suggestion that the game, like the traditional Boxing Day fixture between Batley and Dewsbury should become an established part of pre-season.
“I think it is a great concept,” said Kear adding that it was a tribute to the amateurs that Batley had put out such a strong side.
“The amateurs showed that we were right to give them such respect” he added.
Maun added that the game had proved to be a great and intriguing challenge and he was proud that his side had produced such a brilliant first half.
Sure enough within three minutes of the kick off they had surged down the Mount Pleasant slope with centre Danny Crabtree and wingman A J Boardman making great inroads before full back Pat Foulstone chipped the ball over the line for wingman George Croisdale to touch down.
Joel Gibson landed the conversion and then led the Select on various other sorties before being injured shortly before the interval.
Batley levelled the score after 11 minutes when some smart passing saw prop Adam Gledhill touch down and Southernwood land the first of his eight goals,
Batley went on to add a further three first half tries but the real rush of points came after the break when the Bulldogs with the benefit of the slope and slick passing movements outwitted their challengers and crossed the line at regular intervals.
Forwards Adam Gledhill and Alex Rowe provided a show of devastating forward power while wingmen Wayne Reittie and Johnny Campbell sealed the success of some magical midfield manoeuvres by collecting two tries apiece in the eight try second half spectacular.