BATLEY BULLDOGS produced a clinical performance in testing conditions to gain a comprehensive 30-0 victory over Championship rivals Keighley in their final pre-season friendly, writes Jared Priestley.
In conditions not conducive to flowing rugby league, the Bulldogs kept their opponents scoreless throughout.
Following his sides 20-0 loss at Saints, John Kear opted to name a 24 man squad for Batley’s last trial game, with an aim to get an idea of his starting line-up for the club’s season opener at Leigh on Sunday.
The Bulldogs made the ideal start and opened the scoring on nine minutes, when a blind side raid allowed Alex Bretherton to flop over.
Lee Patterson converted from out wide for a 6-0 lead.
The home side extended their lead on 23 minutes when a flat pass from interchange hooker Anthony Nicholson found Mark Applegarth, and the loose forward made no mistake from close range.
Patterson added the extras for a 12-0 lead.
Batley were dominating but the visitors nearly scored against the run of play, when Paul White looked to intercept from deep inside his own half, but he failed to gather with open field in front of him.
The Cougars winger would soon rue his mistake as Batley added to their lead with a well taken try from Patterson.
A sweeping Batley attack looked to have been wasted when the ball was fumbled, but an impressive flick pass from Jake Connor allowed Patterson to dive over out wide.
The centre failed to convert his own try from the touchline, but Batley went in to the sheds with a 16-0 lead.
The hosts continued their dominance in the second half and scored after just six minutes, when winger Johnny Campbell gathered a well-placed Connor kick to place down in the corner for an unconverted try.
Keighley started to find their feet as the second half progressed and could have scored on a couple of occasions, but Batley’s defence held firm to keep them scoreless.
The second half was brought to life when Leatherbarrow scored arguably the games best try. The half back supported down the middle, after a John Davies offload opened up the Keighley defence, and raced in for a try he converted himself.
Keighley’s woes continued as Campbell once again gathered a clever kick and offloaded inside for Joe Chandler to force his way over.
Leatherbarrow failed with the touchline conversion, but it mattered little as Batley continued to a 30-0 final score line.
Bulldogs coach John Kear was extremely pleased with the performance and added: “We are happy that we have kept them to zero but I am really delighted we posted 30 points.
“To tell you the truth I am surprised we scored as many as that, because the pitch was ankle deep in mud which makes for a slow game more suited to defence.
“Before the game I said it was the last chance to put your hand up, well fortunately for the club and unfortunately for me and selection for Leigh they have done so.