Batley were forced to overcome injury and illdiscipline in order to get past the challenge of the Championship’s basement side York City Knights with a 3016 win.
The Bulldogs lost both Johnny Walker and Paul Mennell prior to the interval and matters worsened after the break as both Gareth Moore and Alex Bretherton were sinbinned.
However, after racing into an early twotry lead, Batley forced York to play catchup and they were unable to stem the flow.
John Kear handed prop Alex Walmsley his first ever start as a Bulldog and recalled former Dewsbury pair Luke Menzies and Keegan Hirst to the bench, while Johnny Campbell replaced the injured Ian Preece at full back.
Campbell’s impact was instant as he crushed York’s Nathan Freer, forcing the ball free on six minutes.
A penalty allowed Batley further territory and from the tap, Bretherton was sent crashing over for Moore to convert.
Those in attendance at the Huntington Stadium witnessed a comedy of errors from two sides in the following 10 minutes but it was York who paid the price.
Ben Black acted quickly from a scrum base, 25 metres from the hosts’ line, to provide the perfect pass for Jason Walton who raced past two wouldbe tacklers to touch down. Moore was again on hand to tag on the extra
York continued to cough up possession but, on the back of their first penalty, playercoach Chris Thorman’s short pass saw James Houston score. Thorman converted, reducing the deficit to six points.
Batley appeared to have hit back when manofthematch Applegarth strolled across the whitewash, only for this effort to be disallowed for an earlier knock on.
The next and somewhat controversial refereeing decision, however, went the way of the away side.
Black appeared to have played at the ball when attempting to intercept a Jordan Tansey pass but Dewsburybased official Jamie Leahy was quick to wave play on.
Gareth Potts shovelled up the loose ball and sprinted 80 metres to the line, handing Bulldogs an 186 interval lead.
Shortly after the restart, a fracas broke out between Batley’s Moore and Knight Matt Garside and the pair were both shown yellow cards for their troubles.
Daley Williams missed a chance to extend the visitors’ advantage from the resulting penalty as the 12aside tie became increasingly scrappy.
Bretherton was next in the sinbin after contesting the referee’s decision but York were unable to capitalise.
Castleford Tigers loanee John Davies – on debut – ignored an overlap and missed out on scoring what would have been a gameturning try.
York’s Jack Lee then had a try ruled out for offside and Batley added insult to injury, scoring their fifth four minutes from time.
On the last tackle, Moore kicked over the City Knights’ line and Bretherton popped up to collect the bouncing ball before touching down.
A 79thminute try from former Super League prop Paul King therefore counted for nothing more than consolation.