Bruised Bulldogs beaten by Broncos

BATLEY let a 18-6 half-time lead slip, as they went down to London Broncos 28-22 in front a crowd of just 341 at the Fox’s Biscuit Stadium on Wednesday.

Playing down the slope in the first half, it looked like John Kear’s side were to pick up their fifth league win of the season as James Brown stormed towards the Broncos’ line with some powerful drives.

The good work from the forward put Luke Blake (pictured) in a good position to dart from close range and Scott Leatherbarrow converted.

Alex Brown, on a month’s loan from Halifax, then dived over in the left-hand corner to score the Bulldogs’ second.

Leatherbarrow landed a superb touchline conversion to give his side a 12-0 lead after 25 minutes.

The Broncos hit back with their first score of the night as Erjon Dollapi went through the Batley defence to score under the posts, making life easy for Wes Naiqama to add the extras as London clawed their way back into the game.

But Batley responded well when prop-forward Sean Hesketh, playing in his 200th career game, bundled over the line for the Bulldogs’ third, and when Leatherbarrow completed a hat-trick of goals.

Player-coach Andrew Henderson must have had some strong words for his London side at the break as they came out for the second perioud all guns blazing.

The full-time outfit scored three tries in the opening nine minutes of the half and the game was turned on its head.

Former Sheffield second-row Matt Garside continued his rich vein of form as he crossed for two tries, Naiqama converting them both.

On-loan Widnes half-back Tom Gilmore then got in on the action as he crossed for the Broncos’ fourth score, and when his try was converted, the men from the captial were in front 24-18.

Winger Iliess Macina got the Broncos’ fifth with 15 minutes on the clock remianing.

Batley tried to end the game as they started it, and when full-back James Craven went over for an unconverted try, the Bulldogs looked like they could snatch the two points.

But this wasn’t to be as Hesketh and captain Keegan Hirst both pressed the line but couldn’t find an opening.

The win keeps London in seventh, just a point behind Dewsbury in fourth, while Batley remain 10th, as they host Leigh on Sunday.

BATLEY: Craven, Reittie, Cosgrove, Squires, A Brown, Mitchell, Leatherbarrow, Hirst, Blake, Rowe, Scott, Chandler, J Brown. Subs: Gledhill, Fozard, Hesketh, Ainscough.

LONDON: Kear, Williams, Helliwell, Naigama, Macani, Thomas, Gilmore, Lovegrove, Henderson, Thackray, Harrison, Garside, Minichella. Subs: Nasso, Dollapi, Walker, Wallace.

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