Billed as a top of the table clash, this weekend will be a good indicator to see just how much of a threat Batley will cause this year. The Bulldogs have won all of their matches this season bar a two point defeat at Featherstone. Bradford will be raring to go after their round five game against Oldham Roughyeds was cancelled due to heavy snow.
Last Time Out
Batley carried on their great early form by beating Workington Town 44-12 at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium. With the visitors attacking downhill in the first half, they broke the deadlock through Declan Hulme but, like they have done for most of this year, Batley hit back moments later thanks to half-back Cain Southernwood. The next try went the way of the Bulldogs, and centre Chris Ulugia who plucked a cross-field kick out of the air to touch down. Pat Walker converted for a 12-6 lead, and that advantage was extended when the loose forward kicked a penalty goal after Workington back-rower Jarrad Stack was sent to the sin-bin. Town did keep themselves in close contact with their opponents heading into the break as Brett Carter crossed the whitewash. Carl Forber added the extras and there was two points separating the side at the break. Unfortunately for the Cumbrians, they had to endure a second half which consisted of heavy Batley attack. The Bulldogs scored 30 straight points without reply, and it was Alex Bretherton who got the ball rolling for Batley in the second half. A lengthy wait for the next try was worth it when the floodgates started to open after James Brown’s score, which was shortly followed up by tries from Alistair Leak and Southernwood. The match ended in great fashion for the West Yorkshire outfit as new signing Alex Brown marked his debut with a try.
Bradford’s game with Oldham at Bower Fold in Stalybridge was called off as the pitch was in no fit state to play on. Stalybridge Celtic’s game on Saturday was also cancelled but the Roughyeds announced that they expected their game to go ahead as initially planned.
One of the unsung heroes of Batley’s early season rise to the top of the table has been hooker Alistair Leak. His contribution to the cause has been seen by many of the Bulldogs’ fans but not so much by others who don’t get to see the team play on a weekly basis. Quick out of the ruck, the force of the forward pack in front of him definitely helps the youngster and he’s definitely one to watch for those attending the game this weekend. Going up against Leak in the hooking position will be one of Bradford’s star performers, Adam O’Brien. O’Brien has been a key figure in the Bulls squad for the past few seasons and it’s expected that he’ll keep performing to the high standards he has previously produced. An exciting battle at acting-half this Sunday.
A tough one to call. Batley have proved everyone wrong on home turf so far this year and they will be looking to add another scalp to their collection on Sunday. Bradford know what they’ll be facing up to and a mean challenge will be in store for them – Bradford by 6
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