BATLEY BULLDOGS will want to forget about the Easter period as they lost 25-18 to London Broncos in a tough encounter in the capital.
The ‘Dogs were looking to bounce back from Friday’s defeat to Dewsbury, and coach John Kear made changes to his team.
But the Broncos were too strong for the visitors, despite them starting and ending the game the stronger of the two sides.
From the kick-off Batley regained the ball and were instantly on the attack, but not managing to break the Broncos’ defence.
Man of the match Ben Hellewell took in a high bomb from the boot of Cain Southernwood to halt the Bulldogs’ attack.
Then it was London’s turn to strike as Rhys Williams crossed the line, only for Batley’s defence to hold him up.
Another testing attacking move from the home side gifted them the first try of the game.
Second-row Matt Garside finished off under the posts for London and Wes Naiqama successfully added the extras.
Almost immediately from the restart, London were causing even more problems for the Bulldogs. The visitors were unable to deal with a kick and centre Ben Farrar hacked the ball to Daniel Harrison, who scored London’s second.
Naiqama converted, making the score 12-0 to the Broncos after as many minutes.
Kear’s side were unable to get going, as London looked a constant threat. With half-time looming former Dewsbury player Hellewell finished off another great attacking move.
Jamie Thackray broke the Batley defence before offloading to Elliot Minchella – who joined the Broncos on a month’s loan from Leeds Rhinos – he then passed inside to Hellewell to cross the line. Oscar Thomas converted to extend their lead to 18-0 at the break.
A reformed Batley side came out for the second hal and gave the away supporters something to shout about, as they broke the defence and headed towards the line.
They managed to force a repeat set and off the back of that substitute Sean Hesketh steamed onto the line to score. Southernwood converted.
Five minutes later, the Broncos replied through Minchella. Good build-up play from the hosts allowed the loose-forward space to go over for a converted try on his home debut.
The Bulldogs rallied and were knocking on the door, getting close but with the final execution letting the visitors down.
Batley then capitalised on some errors from London. The Broncos were penalised for a high shot and then for interfering at the play the ball, as Batley were deep into the opposition’s half.
The hard work paid off for Kear’s team as winger Wayne Reittie forced his way over in the corner. Southernwood added the extras from the touchline to make the score 24-12.
A resilient Bulldogs team continued the fightback, as another Broncos penalty helped Batley up the field, eventually allowing Hesketh to score again for a unlikely double. Southernwood kicked the conversion.
However it was too little, too late for Batley and with just two minutes remaining on the clock, scrum-half Thomas slotted home a drop goal for London, and solidified his side’s victory.
Batley slipped to eighth in the Kingstone Press Championship table after back-to-back defeats.