BATLEY BULLDOGS’ early season heroics have come to an end after they suffered their second heavy defeat in as many weeks and slipped to third in the Championship following their 32-8 loss away at London Broncos.
The Broncos made a flying start scoring in the second minute. Will Barthau threw a long pass out to the left and the ball was fed to the unmarked Rhys Williams, who touched down in the corner.
Four minutes later, the same defensive weakness of the Bulldogs was punished. Williams again took advantage of Alex Brown’s poor position to go over in the corner.
But, for the next 15 minutes, it was Batley who were on top. Dave Scott spotted a gap in the London defensive line and burst over, untouched, from 20 metres out.
Pat Walker added the extras, then kicked a goal after Nick Slyney had been penalised for a tackle offence. As Barthau had missed both London conversions, the game was back to all-square.
Alex Brown was determined not to allow Williams a third try after half an hour, but made no attempt to stop Ben Hellewell, who had the try-scoring honours.
Just before the break, more London pressure resulted in a fourth try, as Eddie Battye went over from close range. Barthau now found his kicking range and improved both tries to give London a 12-point advantage at the break.
Four minutes into the second half, Barthau threw an outrageous dummy and danced through the hole it created to score, but failed to convert.
In the 52nd minute, the Bulldogs pushed the self-destruct button.
Barthau kicked towards the corner, and as eyes turned to see the contest between Williams and Alex Brown, Tom Lillycrop flew into the kicker, flooring him.
Although Williams took advantage of Brown’s fumble and grounded the ball, the referee stopped play, dismissed Lillycrop and awarded a penalty to the Broncos. After receiving treatment Barthau was able to continue.
Just past the hour mark, the Batley defence was once again ripped open. This time it was Matt Garside who threw the decisive pass, with Elliott Kear sprinting onto it and racing over the line.
London continued to pile on the pressure and Mark Ioane scored what proved to be the final try, having just too much power and strength to be stopped on a 10-metre charge. Jack Bussey, who had a solid game at half-back, took over the kicking duties, but hit the outside of the post with his attempt.
Shaun Squires and Alex Brown both had scoring chances for Batley, but Alex Brown was forced into touch and Shaun Squires lost the ball as he stretched over the line, denying the Bulldogs even a consolation score.
London coach Andrew Henderson said: “This was one of the best performances of the season. There were a lot of positives to take out of the game.
“Some of the executions of our attacking play were excellent. We asked a lot of questions of the Batley defence and often had the answers in how to beat them.”