WITH Batley Bulldogs’ presentation evening taking place tonight (Fri) it is a time for head coach John Kear to ponder what could have been at the end of a frustrating Championship Shield campaign.
In a challenging season which has witnessed Batley produce moments of brilliance John Kear remains upbeat about his side’s prospects in 2016.
“Despite finishing fifth and not making the play-offs I have seen enough potential in my squad to be confident that, with not too many new additions over the winter, we can certainly challenge for the play-offs next season,” said Kear.
“Our win against Hunslet last time out was evidence that we are more than capable of reaching the play-offs, we have just lacked consistency and made crucial mistakes at very important times.”
But Kear has to hold onto his first team players if they are to progress next year.
A task that was made trickier by Scott Leatherbarrow’s decision to sign a two-year contract with the London Broncos
earlier this week.
Leatherbarrow scored in 21 consecutive games for the Bulldogs, the last of which came in last Sunday’s win over Hunslet.
“I’m not too concerned about Scott’s decision, it’s a shame he has decided to leave the club but it is what he feels he needed to do and I wish him all the best,” said Kear.
“But a lot of players have already signed new deals with us and they are all optimistic, as am I, that we will perform more consistently next season.
“There will also be a few more additions that I’m sure will excite the Bulldogs fans over the winter.”
If Kear’s potential signings come to fruition, Bulldogs supporters will hope they can be as successful as Alex Brown, after he joined Batley on loan from Halifax mid-way through the season.
Brown scored 14 tries in his 13 starts for the club and his threat from the wing will be sorely missed by Kear.
“It’s disappointing that we can’t sign him on a permanent deal, we’d love to keep him at Batley but he still has another year left on his Halifax contract,” said Kear.
“We won’t give up hope completely on him playing with us again next year but that will depend on negotiations between us and Halifax.”