A SLOPPY first half from Batley Bulldogs gave them too much to do against a youthful Huddersfield Giants side as their pre-season campaign ended in defeat in a frequently fiery encounter.
The Giants fielded a second-string outfit – including Reece Chapman-Smith, Connor Davies and Oliver Waite from reserve partners Halifax – with none of the 17 likely to face Catalans in their Super League season opener featuring here.
However, Batley failed to take advantage of their extra experience as the Giants went 26-0 up. Only as they went downhill in the second half did they finally make a game of it but ultimately they ran out of time.
Reiss Butterworth spent time at Batley in each of the last two seasons but that familiarity didn’t help the defence when the hooker sold a dummy to go clean through and break the deadlock after eight minutes.
Another player who played on loan at Mount Pleasant last term, Oliver Russell, began a perfect record from the tee with the conversion.
Four minutes later, Tom Holmes lifted a kick into the right corner, Travis Corion leapt ahead of Dale Morton and knocked the ball down to Ben Tibbs for the second try.
Then it began to get feisty with fisticuffs between the teams, and Holmes was sent to the bin shortly after for a late, high challenge on Danny Yates.
Batley thought they were on the board when Michael Ward took advantage of confusion in the Giants’ five-man scrum to intercept and score, but he was ruled to have been offside.
Instead Huddersfield piled on the points, Russell adding two with a penalty and then kicking a 40/20 from which Owen Trout’s short pass allowed Jon Luke Kirby to reach for the line.
Lewis Galbraith was yellow carded for holding down an attacker on the line with the Bulldogs on a team warning, and they were another try down by the break as Jordan Paga’s pass saw Oliver Roberts skip through the line and score.
After a superb first half from the young Giants, errors began to creep in and Batley made a game of things with the slope in their favour.
Their first score came from great work by Dane Manning, who managed to shrug off a defender and then roll through a couple of challenges in the corner to reach the line.
Toby Everett then added another score as a Giants knock-on was punished by the prop claiming Alistair Leak’s short pass to crash over, with Morton converting both efforts.
Leak was fingertips away from claiming an offload for another try and Sam Bowring later missed out on a score by trying to go back inside when an overlap had been created.
Another Huddersfield error gave them the platform to score with six minutes to go as another overlap saw Luke Hooley cross.
A Shaun Lunt 40/20 kick yielded no results and their fourth and final try only came on the hooter as Manning scored his second from a Yates pass to leave a four-point difference.
The attempted comeback wasn’t enough to mask Batley’s poor showing in their final match of a pre-season which has brought no wins, and coach Craig Lingard said: “I think we got dominated and out-enthused which was really disappointing.”
Steve Fox, the Giants’ reserve coach, said: “I’m really pleased with the young guys.
“We wanted to build on Wednesday and the positives and in the first half our defence was very good.
“In the second half a lot of changes didn’t help us, there were errors that we need to cut out moving forward, but a lot of the young guys in there we were really pleased with.”