Batley overcome Town despite late scare

BATLEY squeezed out a hard-fought 31-24 away victory to keep their hopes of a top four finish alive in the Championship as a Workington Town fight-back just fell short.

It was another spirited effort by the west Cumbrians who have been bottom of the Championship all season but have been playing with a lot more confidence in recent weeks.

But when Batley opened up a 24-12 lead, with two tries in as many minutes midway through the second-half, it looked all over for Town.

But never-say-die Workington roared back level with two quick converted tries to set up a pulsating final 15 minutes. But it was the Bulldogs who bit hardest to win the match.

“There were a lot of things that pleased me,” said Town coach Phil Veivers.

“But in the end it was our own mistakes which proved our undoing or we could have got something out of the game.”

Batley’s John Kear said: “I’m pleased to be going home with the two points because Workington are fighting for their Championship lives.”

Both sides went close in the opening exchanges – but it was Town who took the lead. The Batley defence parted like the Red Sea to let in Brett Phillips on ten minutes. Carl Forber converted.

The visitors reduced the arrears with a Dom Brambani penalty and went ahead on 25 minute when Luke Blake jinked through from eight yards. Brambani converted.

Batley’s second try on 38 minutes was a gem. They worked the ball from left to right where Greg Minikin broke to feed Wayne Reittie and, after a 60-yard burst, he put the ball back inside for Minikin to score.

Town scored the first try of the second half after the Bulldogs gave away a penalty on their own line. When Town worked the ball to the left, Perry Whiteley dived in. Forber converted from the touchline.

But two tries in the 56th and 58th minutes swung the game back Batley’s way.

A clever kick to the corner from Pat Walker saw Alex Brown slide over the line to gather and touch down virtually in one movement.

Then the Bulldogs swung the ball along the line and Dave Scott dummied to go over. Walker converted.

That could have been the end for Town. Probably earlier in the season it would have been, but they are made of sterner stuff now and came back to score two tries in four minutes.

Jarrod Sammut surprised Batley with a clever, elusive dart for the line on last tackle. Then Jack Murphy got on the end of Forber’s deft little kick. Forber’s two conversions meant Town were level.

But  Walker edged his side in front with a simple field goal before clinching the game four minutes from the end when Alistair Leak darted over after good work from James Brown.

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