16th July 2017, 20:23
BULLS BESTED BY BULLDOGS IN TIGHT GAME
As the Bradford Bulls travelled to the infamous slope at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium to take on the Batley Bulldogs, the Bulls fell short by 23 points to 16 in a closely contested game.
Throughout the afternoon errors crept in across both sides, as a flurry of knock ons and offside prevented either side from gaining momentum.
The sun shone down in Batley creating perfect conditions for both sides to show off their attacking prowess, although neither side could accumulate a dominant force of attack.
Therefore, defence was the order of the day allowing both sides to go into the half time break with only four points apiece.
Joe Keyes scored the first of few tries on the stroke of the fifth minute where Bradford appeared to have a controlling grip of the game, until time went on.
The half back was alert to the blunder of the Batley error, as the half back was on his toes to collect a stray offload between the Bulldog’s line.
The miscommunication of Batley was punished. For the first time this year Keyes was able to stretch his legs and dash his way down field for four points.
Bradford’s defence held strong using the slope to their advantage. Batley had only one attacking play on the Bulls goal line, which was swiftly dealt with.
Although the sheer determination of Batley was highlighted on the 16th minute, as Dominic Brambani’s kick and chase to the corner saw the Bradford defender pulled out of touch.
This gave the home side great field position, which they took advantage of on the third tackle. Bretherton barged his way over the line in a two man tackle to even up the scores.
The second half mirrored the first in no way as five tries were scored, to create a tantalisingly close game between the two sides.
A freak try from the Bulls opened the scoring for the second period, all stemming from a wild high kick from James Bentley.
The second row broke forward on the final tackle to take his side within 20 metres of the opposition goal line, until finally punting the ball high in the air.
Much to the mistake of the full back in the first place, the bounce proved costly as Johnny Campbell was alert to the play to keep Bradford’s chances alive.
The former Batley man refused to let play die as the ball looked certain to cross the back of the in-goal area, Campbell leapt over Scott, his former teammate, to palm the ball back into play and enable Ed Chamberlain to touch down.
Advantage Bradford. Chamberlain’s try and Thomas’ conversion put the Bulls six points clear of Batley, until Walker dampened the Bulls’ spirits, crossing the line to even the scores.
Full back Scott struck immediately after Walker. Much to Batley’s credit, their fast, attractive rugby league moving the ball from right to left created a gap in the Bradford line. Combined with Scott’s quick feet, the full back crossed the line for his first try.
Following Batley’s score that saw them take the lead for the first time, Iliess Macani levelled the matters ten minutes later.
Cameron Smith showed dancing feet on the half way line, moving past two defenders bursting off their line. Shifting the ball quickly to the left flank gave Johnny Campbell the opportunity to charge up the hill, feeding Macani to touch down under the sticks.
Coming into the final quarter of the game the scores were even, until the final five minutes.
Scott scored his second following a three man rush down field, leaving Roche and Thomas outnumbered and inoperable to the three-man attack, exchanging passes throughout their move.
Dominic Brambani sealed the victory for his side as the captain struck a drop goal in the final minute.
BRADFORD BULLS: Thomas, Macani, Mendeika, Chamberlain, Campbell, Aston, Keyes, Kirk, Moore, Magrin, Bentley, C. Smith, Sironen.
Interchanges: Hallas, Roche, Oledzki, Chapelhow
GOALS: Thomas (2), Brambani (DG – 1)
TRIES: Keyes (6’), Chamberlain (46’), Macani (67’)
BATLEY BULLDOGS: Scott, Reittie, Smeaton, Crookes, Aincough, Walker, Brambani, Brown, Leak, Lillycrop, Manning, Bretherton, Day.
Interchanges: Gledhill, Rowe, Davey, Farrell
GOALS: Walker (3)
TRIES: Bretherton (16’), Walker (50’), Scott (54’, 75’)