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Batley Bulldogs v Oldham Roughyeds Preview

Both teams played in tight matches at the Summer Bash but only one side managed to win. Batley Bulldogs beat their Heavy Woollen neighbours Dewsbury Rams 28-24 in the first game of the second day before Oldham let a 20-0 lead slip against Swinton Lions, who were 25-24 victors.

Last Time Out

Batley Bulldogs moved up to third in the Kingstone Press Championship table with a four point win over Dewsbury Rams. It was the Rams who started the better of the sides and Glenn Morrison’s men scored the first two tries of the match through Jason Crookes and Paul Sykes. But it didn’t take long for the Bulldogs to hit back courtesy of Chris Ulugia and Greg Minikin. Only one conversion was successful but Pat Walker did kick a penalty later on in the half to level the game at 12-12. In the latter stages of the first period, a Sykes punt downfield bounced kindly for Dale Morton who scooted over the try-line after evading Batley full-back Dave Scott. The Rams will have been happy with a six point lead at the break and, after the restart, Sykes extended that advantage with a penalty goal. Two tries on the spin from Batley turned the game upside down as John Kear’s side went in front. In-form forwards James Brown and Tom Lillycrop both crossed the whitewash as the Bulldogs finally got themselves in the lead after several tries were chalked off by the video referee. A four point lead was always going to be dangerous and Dalton Grant managed to cut the deficit completely in the final quarter with an acrobatic score in the corner. Sykes couldn’t convert so the match was finely poised with 15 minutes remaining. Batley’s experienced players guided the team to a victory as Walker kicked a penalty goal and a drop goal before Brambani added his own one pointer in the final few minutes.

Oldham Roughyeds played their part in a proper game of two halves but lost out 25-24 to Swinton Lions. The Roughyeds had a 20-0 lead at the break after tries from Kenny Hughes, Danny Langtree and Adam Files as well as a penalty goal from Lewis Palfrey. Swinton started the second half like a house on fire. They scored two tries in quick succession through Macauley Hallett and Chris Atkin and there was only eight points separating the two sides with half an hour left to play. In the final quarter, Rhodri Lloyd and Matty Beharrell both touched down for the Lions in the final quarter to put their side in the lead for the first time in the match. However, there was a twist in the tale as Adam Clay tied the game with a try in the final few minutes of the tie. Palfrey had the chance to put Oldham ahead but his conversion attempt was deemed to have gone wide. A knock-on from the Roughyeds in their own half on the restart set gifted Swinton a golden chance to win the game and they took it with aplomb. Beharrell was as cool as ice while striking over the decisive drop goal with two minutes remaining.

Key Battle

Batley’s prop forwards are more than battle-hardened after their victory over Dewsbury Rams at the weekend. Interchange players James Brown and Tom Lillycrop made a big impression off the bench as the duo scored important tries in the second half. Keegan Hirst and Adam Gledhill both started as the prop forwards for Batley but it was Brown and Lillycrop who were the stars of the show in Blackpool. Oldham’s Michael Ward became one of the cult heroes of the Summer Bash with his no-nonsense style of play, especially in the lead-up to Adam Clay’s equalising try when the forward effortlessly shrugged off a wannabe Lions tackler. Tom Spencer and Tyler Dickinson were the starting front-rowers for the Roughyeds, who were beaten in cruel fashion by Swinton.

Prediction

Batley will be wanting to carry on the form that has seen them move into third place in the Kingstone Press Championship table but Oldham will be a challenge for the Bulldogs. The Roughyeds have adapted well to life in the second tier despite their current position in the relegation zone at the moment. Scott Naylor’s side will be aiming to do the ‘double’ over Batley after their 28-12 win at Bower Fold earlier on this season – Batley by 22

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