A FLYING start from Batley Bulldogs laid the platform for a deserved 44-30 victory over local rivals Dewsbury Rams in the Good Friday Heavy Woollen derby at the Tetley’s Stadium.
The Bulldogs were 12 points up within six minutes and added two further tries during the early stages of the first half to leave Dewsbury with a mountain to climb.
And though the Rams rallied in the minutes that followed, the loss of three players to injury during the game and a heavy penalty count in the visitorsí favour put paid to any hopes of a comeback.
It was a dominant pack display from John Kear’s side, coupled with a quick game around the ruck that proved to be the difference on the night.
Batley took the lead in the fourth minute when Keegan Hirst offloaded in the tackle and then followed up the break before sending Alistair Leak over under the posts.
Pat Walker converted and he was on target again as the Bulldogs crossed for a carbon copy score. Hirst again provided the offload for Leak to scramble over.
The Rams continued to concede penalties and the Bulldogs were able to maintain their momentum, dominating territory and possession.
And when the hosts did begin to build pressure, a loose pass from the returning Rob Spicer was scooped up by Wayne Reittie, who raced 80 metres to score out to the left.
The Jamaican international was in again moments later when Dominic Brambani’s kick to the right bounced favourably into the Batley man’s hands. The latter two conversions were missed by Walker but the Bulldogs held a 20-point lead.
By this point the Rams had lost influential prop forward Matt Groat to a knee injury and Aaron Brown to a shoulder problem while Kyle Trout was forced to leave the field with a head knock.
The deck appeared to be stacked against the hosts, but they were able to rally before half-time.
On 28 minutes Andy Kain wriggled free following a right to left move and found the supporting Luke Adamson and three minutes later Paul Sykes’s inside ball sent Josh Guzdek through a gap, and he rounded full-back Dave Scott to score in the left corner.
Sykes converted both tries to make it 12-20, but, after Pat Walker responded with a penalty goal for Batley, the Rams conceded on half-time for the fourth consecutive game.
Alex Brown beat Dale Morton to Brambani’s kick to the corner and sprinted over to score. Walker was wide with the goal.
The try came after Rams’ Joel Farrell was sin-binned for holding down.
The Bulldogs put further daylight between the two teams in the minutes following the restart.
Dominic Brambani’s attempted 40/20 was scooped away from the touchline by Guzdek and into the path of the chasing Shaun Ainscough, who caught Rams winger Morton off-guard to scoop up and score.
Walker converted and the Bulldogs looked to kick on, but the Rams responded when Shane Grady was put through by Sykes.
And after another Walker penalty for Batley, Guzdek’s flat ball sent Morton over and the Rams continued their resurgence 10 minutes from full-time.
Kain’s pass sent Sykes over the line, before the former Bradford Bulls player returned the favour to put Kain over.
Just one of the Rams’ four second-half tries was converted, however, preserving the visitors’ 30-36 lead and during a second half that saw Dewsbury’s Grady and Jason Crookes sin-binned, further indiscipline from the hosts afforded Batley the opportunity to kill the game.
Brad Day twisted his way over the line on 75 minutes and Walker added a penalty goal on the hooter to round things off for the in-form Bulldogs who sit level on points with leaders Leigh.