BATLEY BULLDOGS plunged Hunslet Hawks firmly into relegation trouble with a comfortable 45-28 win.
After a slow start from both sides, it was Hunslet who eventually broke the deadlock through Callum Casey on 15 minutes.
But tries from Alex Brown and Luke Blake saw the game swing in Batley’s favour before Jack Lee and Jimmy Watson responded, leaving the visitors 18-10 up after half an hour.
However, Batley stormed back, scoring five unanswered tries either side of half-time.
Sean Hesketh, Tom Lillycrop, Brown, Brad Day and Shaun Squires all got on the scoresheet to help the hosts to a 38-18 lead.
Andy Yates and Lee got over for Hunslet as they looked for a glimmer of hope in the closing stages, but it wasn’t enough.
Joe Chandler’s try arrived before a Scott Leatherbarrow drop goal which helped seal the points for the Bulldogs, who move up to ninth, while Hunslet sit two points adrift in the bottom two.
Batley head coach John Kear was left satisfied with the win, but admitted there is yet “work to do” ahead of Sunday’s trip to Dewsbury Rams.
“If you had have offered me a 17-point win before the game I would have been happy with that,” Kear said.
“We earned that victory in the first half and scored some good tries up the hill, but I thought we were sloppy in some areas.
“Our goalline defence was absolutely terrible. There were three really soft tries which aren’t acceptable at this level and some of our ball handling wasn’t the best either, so there’s plenty of work to do in training this week."
In dry conditions, both sides were content to complete their sets in the early stages. But, just as Batley were beginning to build pressure, Hunslet went ahead through Casey.
After some stellar goalline defence from the visitors, their first real chance fell to the ex-Halifax man who strolled in, Simon Brown converting.
The game seemed to spark into life thereafter and Batley soon had a try of their own as Brown stumbled in at the corner following a fine cut-out pass from Cain Southernwood.
The home side were suddenly in the ascendancy and Blake was next to capitalise on his side’s good field position, forcing his way over from dummy half.
However, with Barry Eaton barking orders from top of the main stand, Hunslet responded, Jack Lee going over on the back of the Hawks’ first penalty of the match.
And the Hawks extended their advantage to eight points shortly after, Watson skipping through some fractured defence for a 18-10 lead after 31 minutes.
But that lead proved to be short-lived. Batley replied almost immediately through Hesketh who rumbled his way in from 10 metres after the ‘Dogs regathered the resulting kick-off.
Tom Lillycrop then barged over shortly after to ensure Kear’s men would go into half-time four points up.
Despite the sin-binning of George Flanagan on the hooter, Hunslet began the second half well, but a second score from Brown before Brad Day went in meant Eaton’s side had a 14-point deficit to overcome.
And Squires’ scrappy try on the hour brought about chants of ‘Eaton out’ from the visiting fans as they stared at a 38-18 scoreline on Batley’s newly-installed electronic scoreboard.
Yates bounced over to offer a brief reprieve from Hunslet’s discontent, but Chandler’s score, on the back of a raking break from the hosts, ended the game as a contest, meaning Lee’s late try had little impact on the outcome.