Déjà-vu but no white flag as Kear's Batley Bulldogs suffer a third-straight defeat

Déjà-vu but no white flag as Kear's Batley Bulldogs suffer a third-straight defeat


TOUCHDOWN: Greg Johnson offered real hope with a try on the stroke of half time TOUCHDOWN: Greg Johnson offered real hope with a try on the stroke of half time

DÉJÀ-VU experienced at the hands of another top-five rival, but still no sign of a white flag from John Kear's battling Bulldogs.

Leading at half-time, Batley had produced something of a recovery following their disappointing Northern Rail Cup exit just seven days prior.

But strangely, matters were sewn up less than 90 seconds into the second half by hosts Featherstone.

Despite matching the now second-placed Rovers throughout, poor decision making and a lack of patience ultimately sealed Batley's fate.

The hosts started the stronger with the man believed to be Mount Pleasant-bound for 2014, Andy Kain, pulling the strings.

Half-back Kain's silky skills laid the platform for former Dewsbury Ram Steve Crossley to charge over, Liam Finn adding the extras from bang in front.

John Davies went close in the minutes that followed and the back-rower almost crossed again, only for Tom Hemingway's pass to be ruled forward by referee Dave Merrick.

Pressure eventually told, however, and the Bulldogs drew level.

Hemingway broke clear and star man Ben Black put full-back Miles Greenwood into space, the one-time Halifax man galloping towards the posts for the former to convert.

Both sides continued to threaten as the second quarter began but it was Ryan Sheridan's Rovers who regained the upper hand through Ian Hardman, Kain again acting as the orchestrator.

As they did when Featherstone broke the deadlock, though, Batley hit back.

Except this time Kear's men took the lead as Finn failed to improve Hardman's effort from out wide.

A penalty handed the Bulldogs some much-needed territory and, fresh from the bench, Gareth Moore came up with the vital pass to send Greg Johnson across the whitewash.

Hemingway, reverting to loose forward, goaled superbly just in from touch give the visitors a 12-10 advantage as the hooter sounded for half-time.

KEY FIGURE: Tom Hemingway was a stand-out performer KEY FIGURE: Tom Hemingway impressed

Basking in sunshine at the Big Fellas Stadium, the 2,435 in attendance could have been forgiven for anticipating a thrilling finish.

Little did they know, a Lamont Bryan break would prove the defining factor.

A defensive lapse saw the former Super League man tear through on a barnstorming run.

Bryan was eventually halted, but the Bulldogs had no answer to Andy Ellis' dart from the resulting play-the-ball.

And an error of judgement, which could prove pivotal during this year's end-of-season review, prevented Batley from posting an immediate response.

John Davies powered through just shy of the hour and found Gareth Moore, who failed to notice a two-man overlap and instead chose to lob a chip-kick into touch.

Shortly after, Liam Walmsley put down a perfect Black ball before Johnny Campbell went close.

Hooker George Flanagan was held up short 12 minutes from time and frustration eventually set in.

Batley had bombed their chances, time and time again.

And a penalty for interference, conceded by Flanagan, handed Finn an opportunity to seal all three points.

The Rovers scum-half delivered, leaving the Bulldogs to fight not for victory but to ensure a consolation bonus point.

ROVERS: Ian Hardman 7; Will Sharp 7; Jonny Hepworth 7; Greg Worthington 7; Tommy Saxton 7; Andy Kain 7; Liam Finn 8; Steve Crossley 7; Ben Kaye 7; Matt James 7; James Lockwood 7; Tim Spears 8; Matty Dale 7. Subs: Andy Ellis 8; Jack Bussey 7; Lamont Bryan 8; Andy Bostock 7.

Tries: Crossley (6), Hardman (32), Ellis (42)

Goals: Finn 3/4

BULLDOGS: Miles Greenwood 7; Johnny Campbell 7; Jason Walton 7; Alex Bretherton 7; Greg Johnson 7; Ben Black 8; Tom Hemingway 7; Byron Smith 7; George Flanagan 7; Dan Fleming 7; John Davies 8; Liam Walmsley 7; Jay Leary 7. Subs: Paul Mennell 7; Gareth Moore 7; Keegan Hirst 7; Alex Rowe 7.

Tries: Greenwood (18), Johnson (36)

Goals: Hemingway 2/2

Referee: Dave Merrick

Half-Time: 10-12

Penalties: 8-6

Sin-Bin: None

Sent-Off at times: None

Attendance: 2,435

ThePress Man of The Match: Tom Hemingway – Earned a surprise start and made a big impression

Weather: Sunny

Match Rating: 4/5

By Ryan Sparks

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