BATLEY Bulldogs moved ahead of Halifax into fifth on the Championship ladder after a fine 32-16 win over their West Yorkshire rivals at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium.
Steve Tyrer, who notched two goals, opened the scoring for Fax, before a quickfire double through Wayne Reittie and Shaun Ainscough, plus a Pat Walker goal, put the ‘Dogs 10-6 up at the break.
Though the visitors quickly went back ahead after the interval thanks to Matt Sarsfield’s converted try, a second score for Reittie and one for Walker put the hosts in front and they never relinquished that lead.
Ben Heaton added Fax’s final try of the game on 69 minutes, and a late rally from the Bulldogs saw man-of-the-match Dave Scott and James Brown both touch down in the last five minutes, alongside two more Walker goals, to seal the points.
Batley boss John Kear said: “We knew what was riding on the game but I’m really pleased we kept our focus.
“It was a really tough game, but we completed our sets and concentrated on going through the processes of playing rugby league, and I think that paid off for us. Halifax are a quality side so I’m delighted we’ve managed to get the win.”
In the other camp, Halifax boss Richard Marshall said: “We put in a lot of effort but it’s another loss which is disappointing.
“Batley were just better than us and strangled our energy with a great kicking game and they used their big pack really well – they played the game on their terms.
“On current form, we don’t deserve to be in the top four. We’ve got to start fixing things up.”
‘Fax enjoyed an almost perfect start as Steve Tyrer collected Gareth Moore’s cross-field kick to go over out wide on three minutes.
He goaled it to put the visitors 6-0 up, but Batley battled back, with only heroic goal-line defence denying them a first try.
But, after a sustained spell of pressure, they finally got their reward as Reittie pounced on a Domininc Brambani kick to hit back.
Though Walker was unable to convert, the hosts were in the ascendancy and quickly had their second score of the day as Ainscough got over in the left corner. Walker kicked the goal to make it 10-6 to the home side at the break.
Fax got themselves back into the tie soon after half-time with Salford loanee Sarsfield bagging a debut score following a fine Richard Moore break.
Tyrer again got the goal, but Batley roared back with Reittie going over just before the hour mark after an error from Miles Greenwood.
That made it 14-12 to the Bulldogs, which soon became 20-12 as Walker rushed over from dummy half before converting his own try.
Heaton led a revival for Fax on 69 minutes with a last-tackle try and, despite Tyrer going wide with the goal, the visitors were back in the game.
At four points down, they looked favourites to bag the game’s next try.
But against the run of play Dave Scott all but sealed the points after a counter-attack, before Brown’s four-pointer on the hooter gave the scoreline a more convincing look.