Photo: Ryan Jackson
A TRY from Ben Markland in the final moments stole victory for Hunslet (16-12) against a Batley side who were victims of their own ill-discipline.
The Bulldogs edged a tight first half, despite defending for large periods, and appeared to have done enough to hold on for victory before Markland chased down Dom Brambani’s grubber to snatch the spoils.
Both sides completed well during the early stages and enjoyed opportunities to attack.
Dave Scott produced the game’s first error when he failed to gather Brambani’s bomb, but the Parksiders were unable to capitalise.
Instead the Bulldogs took the lead when George Senior crashed onto Alistair Leak’s flat ball from dummy half.
Morton added the conversion to make it 6-0, but Hunslet regrouped and found their structure in the minutes that followed.
The hosts showed enterprise with the ball in hand and moved their attacking play at pace, but the Bulldogs were equal to the challenge and held on to their lead.
The Parksiders had their breakthrough in the 27th minute, when Liam Copland squeezed over following a blind-side move from dummy half on the last tackle.
Danny Rowse’s conversion attempt came back off the posts but the hosts remained on the front foot, aided significantly by Batley’s indiscipline during the latter stages of the first half.
Hunslet continued to build pressure during the early stages of the second period and Rowse’s grubber kick forced a repeat set 10 metres from the visitors’ line.
But a poor kick on the last let the Bulldogs off the hook and instead Batley went further in front when Tyler Dickinson spun over from short range.
Morton’s goal from in front of the posts made it 12-4 with just over half an hour to play, but Hunslet continued to threaten and Copland was denied his second try only by the ball’s bounce moments later after Brambani, who starred against his old side, had chipped wide.
It was a much simpler play that unlocked the Bulldogs’ defence for Hunslet’s second score. With Batley’s ruck defence sleeping, Kiedan Hartley reached out to plant the ball down and Rowse’s goal made it a two-point game with 20 minutes still to play.
Luke Hooley’s restart was allowed to bounce into touch, stifling the hosts’ momentum, but a superb interception by Josh Tonks relieved the pressure on their line.
Copland again went close after being released by Tom Ashton, but with no support, his desperate pass inside went into Batley hands.
Dickinson’s charge and offload almost laid on a try for Leak as Batley sought to seal matters, before Markland chased and then dived on Brambani’s grubber, two minutes from full-time, to steal victory for Hunslet.