BATLEY BULLDOGS suffered a heavy 76-16 away defeat at the hands of promotion-hopefuls London Broncos in their second Qualifiers outing.
The game was pretty much decided in the opening 10 minutes as the Broncos ran in three tries.
First to cross was Jamie Soward, who shaped to kick on the last tackle, but instead cut inside, side-stepped past Dave Scott and touched down.
In the eighth minute, again on the last tackle, the Broncos eschewed the kick and Daniel Harrison crashed through two tacklers to touch down.
Before Batley had touched the ball, Iliess Macani was at the shoulder of Aki Pewhairangi as he made a break. When the pass came to him, the winger scooted over in the corner.
Sadly, Pewhairangi’s next involvement was his last as he injured his knee trying to score a try in the 13th minute and was stretchered off.
The game quietened down for a few minutes after the injury, though Batley did waste a good chance to score after getting two penalties in the London half.
Then the Broncos were awarded a two penalties in quick succession and Andy Ackers went over from close range.
When the Bulldogs lost the ball in the 27th minute, they were punished instantly. The ball was moved across the line and 80 metres down the field before Macani scored in the corner.
The last score of the half came on another last-tackle play. James Cunningham wrong-footed his two markers and burrowed between them to touch down.
After the interval the Broncos continued their dominance. A Soward bomb was caught by Alex Walker. He passed the ball out of the tackle to Matt Garside who scored close to the posts.
From the re-start, Harrison made a powerful break and passed to Macani who completed his hat-trick.
Batley then enjoyed their best spell of the match, scoring two tries in three minutes, both close range efforts from props.
In the 48th minute James Brown crashed over, then it was the turn of Alex Rowe, who got his reward for a strong performance. Dominic Brambani added the extras so, with 29 minutes to go, the margin was ‘only’ 32 points.
Normal service was resumed when Rhys Williams scored after 54 minutes, following a powerful Mark Ioane break which was continued by Ben Hellewell. Three minutes later, after knocking-on, Tom Lillycrop spoke out of turn to the referee and was sin-binned.
On the hour mark, Williams was hemmed in by the touchline and faced four tacklers in the 10 metres between him and the try-line. It made no difference because he danced through them, stumbled and still was able to touch down.
Shortly afterwards Jack Bussey backed up a break by Jamie Thackray and he finished off between the posts.
Batley replied with a try from Chris Ulugia, straight from a scrum. But the Broncos added another three tries in the last eight minutes.
Wayne Reittie lost the ball in a good attacking position and following a London counter-attack Cunningham was able go through two tacklers to ground the ball.
Williams completed his hat-trick after a break by Bussey was continued by Hellewell. But the biggest cheer of the afternoon was reserved for Ioane who backed up a good run by Walker.
London coach Andrew Henderson said: “I am delighted with the result and really pleased for the players after the effort last week. Apart from 10 minutes, when they scored two tries, it was an almost perfect performance.
“For the majority of the game we were dominant and played some fantastic rugby league football. And we had do it in adversity as we lost Aki Pewhairangi (knee), Alex Foster (groin) and Nick Slyney (back), none of whom could return. We were down to one interchange.
“James Cunningham was great in a number of positions and I want to mention Lewis Bienek who really held his own on his debut.”
Batley coach John Kear said: “I am embarrassed and I think the players are too.
"The people I feel really sorry for are the fans who spent a great deal of time and money to come down and watch that. It was so desperately poor.
“We cannot sweep that under the carpet and we will have a long talk about it again on Tuesday – we did so straight after the game.”