Determined Batley hold for Shay success

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Batley Bulldogs continued their strong start to the Championship season with a thoroughly determined 17-12 win over Halifax at the Shay.

Both sides scored two tries, but Batley - who led 8-6 at the interval - took the points thanks to three crucial penalties, from Dominic Brambani and Pat Walker, and some wasteful finishing from the home team.

In what is becoming a recurring theme for their coach Richard Marshall, Halifax made a succession of chances in both halves, but were frustrated by some robust defence and a lack of the clinical support play that characterised their successful 2015 season.

The first quarter was nip and tuck, with neither defence showing sign of cracking.

It was Halifax who carved out the first chance, winger Jake Eccleston being called back for a forward pass after a break down the left flank.

The home side were over the line on the 20 minute mark, half back Gareth Moore stepping through the line and touching down under the posts for a touchdown that was disallowed by referee George Stokes, apparently for an obstruction in the build up.

They did finally crack their visitors on the half hour though, Moore providing the final pass for back rower Dane Manning to score on the left and Steve Tyrer kicking the conversion for a 6-0 lead.

The home side continued to look the more dangerous, Ben Heaton and Jacob Fairbank both going close to adding further tries.

But it was the Bulldogs who landed the sucker punch on the stroke of half time, Alex Bretherton scoring a well constructed try two minutes before the break and Dominic Brambani adding a conversion and a last-play long range penalty as the visitors headed for the dressing rooms leading 8-6.

Halifax started the second half with a try from Moore, who gleefully skipped past his former teammates for a score that Tyrer converted to leave Halifax leading 12-8.

They almost scored again straight from the restart through Eccleston, before Brambani equalled Moore’s footwork with a try at the other end which he converted himself.

Their lead may have been slender at 14-12, but Batley looked more and more in control as the half wore on, Walker putting them 16-12 ahead before Brambani wrapped things up with a late drop goal.

Again, Halifax had chances, Adam Tangata short of support after a 40 metre surge and Eccleston again hauled back for a forward pass.

Halifax:Sharp; Eccleston, Heaton, Tyrer, Saltonstall; G. Moore, Murrell; Ambler, Kaye, Cahalane, Divorty, Manning, Tangata. Subs: Fairbank, Maneely, R. Moore, Barber

Bulldogs: Scott; Reittie, Cowling, Ulugia, Ainscough; Southernwood, Brambani; Hirst, Blake, Brown, Bretherton, Chandler, Walker. Subs: Leak, Gledhill, Rowe, Lillycrop

Referee: George Stokes