Heavy Woollen derby success leapfrogs Bulldogs to third

Heavy Woollen derby success leapfrogs Bulldogs to third

JAMES BROWN  made Batley coach John Kear feel good in a dour Heavy Woollen derby, coming off the bench to inspire the Bulldogs to a 28-24 win after Dewsbury made all the early running.

Trailing 12-0 and 20-12, Batley hit back to displace Bradford Bulls in third place ahead of the final game of the weekend.

“James Brown was magnificent,” enthused Kear.

“For the first 15 minutes they battered us but once the interchanges went out there, they changed the momentum.

“He (Brown) was instrumental towards our victory. The standard of football wasn’t that great but we won and got two points.

“It was a scruffy game and I said to them at half-time ‘you are better than this’.

“But sometimes you just have to hang in and find a way to win.

“We did that with the penalty and two drop goals which in the end made the difference. But we have got to make sure next weekend our standard of play is higher than it was this week. Attitude-wise though, we flipped it round which is a very pleasing thing.”

But Rams boss Glenn Morrison admitted his side are being dragged into a relegation scrap after a 10th defeat in 15 league games.

And the Aussie coach pulled no punches with his post-game assessment.

“Defensively we worked well for each other but our skill level was not good enough,” he admitted.

“We completed 58 per cent and you are not going to beat anyone with that percentage.

“Their composure, with the people that mattered, was better than ours.

“When we got to the right points and ran the right lines, we scored some good tries. But we haven’t been able to put games to bed.

“I said to the players before kick-off, ‘the game is on TV, go and show people what we are all about in our skill level and how we play rugby’.

“Instead, we have put ourselves in a position where we are looking over our shoulders with the relegation situation.”

Dewsbury, now with only one win from their last seven games, made the perfect start as they attempted revenge for a 44-30 defeat by the Bulldogs back in March.

Jason Crookes notched the first of his team’s three first half tries after five minutes with Paul Sykes tagging on the conversion.

Sykes took his personal tally to eight points with a second Rams touch down eight minutes later and subsequent conversion.

Batley needed some inspiration and it came from Cain Southernwood’s kick that allowed Chris Ulugia to open the Bulldogs account.

Penalties and handling errors ensured the quality of the action was disappointing. And coupled with a low crowd, it wasn’t a great advert for the Summer Bash experience.

It was all square when Greg Minikin latched onto a smart kick from Dom Brambani to grab Batley’s second try. Pat Walker kicked the goal to make it 12-12 approaching half-time.

Dewsbury hit back before the break as Dale Morton lifted his try tally into double figures for the season with Sykes claiming the assist with an excellent kick.

A Sykes penalty five minutes after the re-start suggested the Rams might end their depressing sequence of recent results.

But with Brown starting to dominate, the Bulldogs came back into contention. The undisputed man of the match powered over after 49 minutes before Tom Lillycrop added a fourth Batley try after 53 minutes to give Kear’s men a 24-20 advantage.

As a rollercoaster ride to match the entertainment on offer at South Shore, the game couldn’t reach such heights.

However, Dalton Grant went over with 17 minutes remaining to tie the scores again. Sykes missed the conversion to put the Rams in front for a third time.

And that’s as close as they came to even sharing the spoils. Walker landed a 67th minute penalty from 40 metres before the same player and Dom Brambani dropped goals in the final 10 minutes.

The final hooter signalled an outbreak of fisticuffs that could lead to disciplinary repercussions for both clubs. It was a feisty end to a large damp squib of a contest.

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