Halifax Panthers dumped out of Challenge Cup by Batley Bulldogs
Bulldogs ran in three tries at the Shay to wrap-up a 19-6 victory and seal progress to the second round.
The match started with both sides struggling to gain any real attacking momentum, with chances few and far between.
Batley created the first opening of note after four minutes, with centre Dale Morton breaking a tackle and sprinting clear, only to miss the pass inside to his teammate.
On 18 minutes, a burst from Scott Grix gave the Panthers their first attacking chance, but Connor Robinson’s dive for the line from the subsequent phase was brilliantly held up by the Batley defence.
A full 12 months without competitive rugby league showed during the first half, with both sides making routine errors with both handling and tackling.
The Panthers grew stronger as the half wore on, with Jacob Fairbank breaking the Batley defence open with a surging line break, only to be denied on the five-metre line as he looked to offload.
As the half ticked towards the hooter, the deadlock was broken. A body check by Connor McGrath resulted in a penalty, and Batley kicker Morton had the straightforward task of converting the chance.
Moments later, Batley struck again. The Halifax defence allowed Morton to break through once more, and the Batley man found the inside support line with a perfectly weighted pass, allowing Jack Logan a clear run to the line. Morton duly added the extras, to make the half time score 8-0 to Batley.
The second half started with another Batley score, as Jodie Buchanan crossed to put the Bulldogs 12-0 ahead.
The margin sparked a more concerted effort by the Panthers to close their opponents down, and force attacking opportunities. Almost immediately, the approach paid dividends as Matt Garside collected Nick Rawsthorne’s knock back to score.
The conversion cut the deficit but Batley would score again to go further ahead, Ben Kaye capitalising on some defensive miscommunication to score the Bulldogs’ third try of the night. A conversion put the visitors 18-6 ahead, and a late Ben White drop goal added gloss to the scoreline.