Batley Bulldogs pulled off an amazing comeback in the final minutes of their match with Rochdale Hornets. Three tries in quick succession saw the Bulldogs turn a 36-22 deficit into a 38-36 win. Matty Hadden was sin-binned for the Hornets on 70 minutes, leaving the hosts to pile on the pressure and the Hornets couldn’t hold on.
Rochdale started the game well and scored the first three tries through Rob Massam, Harvey Livett and Benjamin Jullien. Livett converted two from three. Macauley Hallett replied for the hosts as they tried to get a foothold in the contest but their efforts proved short-lived. Lewis Galbraith extended Rochdale’s lead with Alan Kilshaw’s men in firm control. Sam Smeaton and Hallett then notched a try apiece to cut the gap to 10 points – 22-12 – by the break.
In the second period, Hadden settled any nerves after the restart as the Irish international crossed the whitewash for Rochdale. Livett converted and he also kicked a penalty goal after James Brown was sent to the sin-bin. With the final quarter approaching and Rochdale 30-12 to the good, it looked like the Hornets were going to see the game out and when Jack Johnson scored, many will have been mistaken to think a four score lead was insurmountable. Livett made it 36-12 before Batley started their miraculous fight back. Smeaton and Will Maher crossed but with Dominic Brambani only converting one – his first of the game at that point – the deficit still looked too big. But when Shaun Ainscough broke away and Hadden was sin-binned for a professional foul, there was some light for the Bulldogs. Ainscough scored twice in three minutes to bring the score to 36-32 to the visitors, with the game entering its dying embers. Then, the decisive try came from Tom Lillycrop who planted the ball next to the sticks with Brambani adding the extras to complete a superb comeback. The Bulldogs’ never say die attitude deserves applauding but Rochdale will not believe how they’ve lost the game as they enter the Easter period licking their wounds.