Bulldogs’ class is too much for spirited Lions

Bulldogs’ class is too much for spirited Lions

Batley Bulldogs beat Swinton Lions 46-14 side to progress to the last 16 of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.

The League 1 visitors performed admirably, but Batley’s class told in an entertaining fifth-round tie.

Swinton took a surprise early lead after just three minutes when centre Chris Rothwell dived on a perfect Chris Atkin grubber-kick.

John Kear’s side took just five minutes to reply.

Some excellent goal-line defence from the visitors held up Bulldogs front-rower Sean Hesketh over the line, but just moments later winger Wayne Reittie rose above his opposite man to collect a superb cross-kick from stand-off Cain Southernwood to draw the hosts level.

Two further tries in the next 10 minutes gave the Bulldogs a 12-point lead.

Man-of-the-match Southernwood was involved again, putting second-rower Brad Day through a gap to touch down under the posts.

Southernwood then added a try of his own, finishing off loose-forward Joe Chandler’s thundering break through the middle of the Lions’ defence.

Shortly before the half-hour mark, the Bulldogs scored the try of the game.

Clever interchange between that man Southernwood and debutant Jacob Morgan created the space for Shaun Squires to get on the outside of his man, before the centre produced an outstanding off-load to set up winger Shaun Ainscough to score in the corner.

It was the visitors’ turn to quickly hit back, with centre Stuart Littler powering over out wide to reduce the deficit to 12 points.

The Lions were almost over again on the next set. Rothwell made a break from deep inside his own half, before setting away winger Alex Hurst for a clear run to the line.

Somehow Bulldogs winger Ainscough produced an incredible last-ditch tackle to prevent Hurst from reducing the lead further.

Batley took just two minutes to score the first points of the second-half. Debutant Morgan dived on an unorthodox Squires kick to increase the Bulldogs’ lead to a game-high 18 points.

Swinton second-rower Darren Hawkyard was sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle on 52 minutes and the Bulldogs scored two tries in his absence to put the game beyond the visitors.

Ainscough intercepted an attempted Littler tap-on to race home unchallenged, before Tom Thackray powered over from close range minutes later.

Swinton continued to attack and were rewarded for their efforts when the electric Shaun Robinson scored a fantastic winger’s try with little over 10 minutes to play.

Perhaps unfairly on the visitors, Batley added two late tries to seal an emphatic 32-point victory.

Thackray crossed for his second try, before Alistair Leak finished another excellent Bulldogs move.

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