Bulldogs fans savour cup celebration

CHAIRMAN Kevin Nicholas hailed Batley Bulldogs fans for turning out in force for the cupwinning side’s civic reception on Monday.
Scores of fans lined Commercial Street and packed Market Place to watch the team parade the Northern Rail Cup from a vintage opentop bus.
The Mayor of Kirklees, Coun Andrew Palfreeman, then welcomed the team and fans to a reception held at the Irish Nash club due to the Town Hall being refurbished.
Coun Palfreeman said: “Winning the Northern Rail Cup is an outstanding achievement for everyone connected with the Bulldogs.
“It ended an 86year wait for a trophy and made the people of Batley, not to mention the wider community, very proud.
“Kirklees is a hotbed of rugby league success. We have seen Dewsbury Rams go through a whole season undefeated, Huddersfield Giants reach the Challenge Cup final and now Batley Bulldogs add their name to the roll of honour.”
Mr Nicholas praised the fans and said: “We were thrilled by the turnout. We thought with it being a Monday in the school holidays few would bother. But it was great to see them out in such numbers.
“I know the players loved being in the spotlight and signing so many autographs for the children.”
The Bulldogs, appearing in a first final for 58 years, came back from 2415 down with just 13 minutes left to clinch a memorable 2524 win last month.
Winger Alex Brown was the hero with two late tries at Bloomfield Road in Blackpool to seal Batley’s first trophy success since 1924.
Batley’s season could get even better if they qualify for the Championship playoffs despite having reputedly the lowest wage bill in the division.
Mr Nicholas said: “I’m pretty sure we’ve got the smallest budget at this level and I think there’s a few teams in the league below who are better funded.
“Our coach (Karl Harrison) has done a tremendous job in finding underappreciated talents and getting the best out of them.
“He’s definitely one of the best coaches around. But I’m not worried about him leaving, unless a Super League club makes an offer he can’t refuse. Karl knows that I think he’s one of the most miserable people around, so considering he’s smiling a lot at the moment, he must be content here!”
Harrison with a big grin on his face enjoyed the reception and said: “You can see it means to the town of Batley.
“We went into the final very confident. We knew we were two evenlymatched teams and we managed to overturn the odds. We can build from here.”

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