Off the mark: George Senior scored his first try for Batley late on in their Challenge Cup defeat to Leigh last Friday
LEIGH CENTURIONS proved too strong for Batley Bulldogs as the Championship’s early leaders continued their league form into the cup to become the first team into the hat for the fifth round with a six-try victory.
Batley headed west last Friday night with little to lose as underdogs and came away with a result close to what most would have expected (36-10).
The Centurions’ fourth try on the stroke of half-time gave them an 18-point lead and, after a pointless third quarter, two further tries in between the Bulldogs’ second in the final 20 minutes secured the victory.
In another good team performance, stand-off Ben Reynolds ran the game on the back of his formidable pack, orchestrating his side’s six tries and landing all the conversions – including four magnificent efforts from the touchline.
The Bulldogs fought gamely throughout and gave it a good fist in the second half as Shaun Lunt showed what a good rugby league brain he has, Ben White provided some good touches at half-back and Dane Manning battled on in a beaten pack.
The visitors’ discipline also let them down on the night, resulting in the Centurions scoring four tries on the back of Batley mistakes, including their first two inside 10 minutes.
On three minutes, from the play-the-ball on the fourth tackle, Centurions hooker Liam Hood drove over from close range, and seven minutes later they again attacked the Bulldogs line and Danny Addy stormed over to give his side a 12-0 lead.
As Leigh fans waited for the points avalanche the Bulldogs hit back on their first attack on 15 minutes following a penalty.
Quick hands down the line saw Tyler Dupree score out wide and Luke Hooley kicked their only goal of the game to halve the deficit.
The Bulldogs knocked-on from the restart, with handling errors continuing to let them down. The mistake led to a third try on 24 minutes for Leigh, centre Iain Thornley going over for the first of his brace.
He scored a second on the stroke of half-time following a penalty for a 24-6 lead.
Batley started the brighter in the second half with the Centurions showing steely defence holding Manning and Lunt up on the line.
They continued to press with a further three back-to-back sets, but couldn’t get over the whitewash.
The Centurions responded, forcing the Bulldogs to drop-out following a Reynolds in-goal grubber, and just on the hour they hit Batley with two final tries in four minutes.
On the fourth tackle, following a penalty, Leigh attacked down the right channel and Reynolds put Ben Hellewell in at the corner.
Then on 63 minutes, in a trademark training ground move, the Centurions swept the ball across the line and Adam Higson spectacularly swan-dived over in the corner to make it 36-6.
Play was held up for a number of minutes after a big hit by substitute Sam Brooks on Bulldogs hooker Alistair Leak, who recovered but the former was given 10 minutes for a late shoulder charge.
Batley made the Centurions pay as George Senior went over in the corner for their final try, but that was as good as it got as the home side held firm whilst down to 12 men.