DEWSBURY CELTIC will face Heworth for a place in NCL Division Two next season after reaching the play-off final with a deserved win over local rivals Batley Boys.
Batley, in their first season following their election into the National Conference Leagues, can be immensely proud of their achievements in pushing for promotion.
However, that effort looked to have taken its toll in the final weeks of the season and they were far from their best in this semi-final, watched by a strong crowd of around 300, despite taking an early lead.
Celtic established a grip on the game towards half-time and their extra quality showed as the game went on, helped by a frustrated Boys side losing their discipline in the closing stages.
It had all started so well for Batley, who took a sixth-minute lead when Owen West headed straight for the corner after Damon Fletcher had been stopped close to the line. Adam Bingham, making his final appearance before retirement, couldn’t add the conversion and the try would prove to be their only points of the tie.
After having a try ruled out for a knock-on, Celtic got their first score midway through the half. Their opponents had to withstand intense pressure until Ethan Ferry was found running a great line to finally break their resistance, and George Senior put them in the lead with the first of his six goals.
James Walker went into the corner for the Green and Whites but the score was chalked off for a knock-on, while a big defensive effort at the other end saw Josh Whitehead hauled into touch.
The crucial period of the match was the final five minutes of the first half as Celtic took control with two tries.
The first was a simple drive under the posts from close range by Drew Clark, before man of the match Danny Thomas skipped between two defenders to run in and make it 18-4 at the break.
Batley’s cause was not helped by their own lack of discipline, although they managed to survive the 10-minute period early in the second half when Luke Sheridan was in the sin-bin for use of the knees in a tackle.
Soon after returning to a full complement, their chances were effectively over as Celtic crossed again. They chose to play from a penalty and were rewarded for that endeavour as a long Thomas pass to the right sent Nathan Waring over.
The Boys let their frustration get the better of them in the latter stages with two more players dismissed. Ryan Crossley was sin-binned for dissent and, five minutes later, the red card was brandished to Whitehead for foul language.
That allowed Celtic to make the win more emphatic with two further tries. Paul Foulstone went through the line to score after a series of offloads before Senior ran over from dummy-half in the final action of the game.
Celtic travel to York tomorrow (Saturday, kick-off 2.30pm) to play Heworth, who picked up a resounding 68-16 win in their own semi-final against Drighlington, with promotion just 80 minutes away.