Tonight saw the final game of round six from the Championship with two playoff teams from 2022 facing off against each other.
Batley Bulldogs hosted Barrow Raiders, or at least they were supposed to, the game had a late venue change on account of damaged floodlights at Batley’s home ground.
Instead the game was played at League One Dewsbury Ram’s stadium, the RFL and both teams arranging the late venue change.
Barrow headed into the fixture rooted to the bottom of the table with just one point from a possible 10, only managing one draw thus far in the season.
As for Batley, last season’s Million Pound Game finalists, they sat ninth with two wins from five, but hoping to change that and push into the top six.
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It was Batley who had the best of the early exchanges and that paid dividends in the eighth minute when a passing move sent Josh Hodson in to cross over.
James Meadows conversion made the score 6-0 however that’s how the game remained for a period, both sides exchanging sets but ultimately unable to punish in the wet conditions.
Meadows was involved again at the 20 minute mark however this saw him sent to the sin bin instead, but the home side managed with just 12 on the pitch seeing out the ten minutes.
A Batley penalty on the eve of half-time saw them opt to kick and spread the game to 8-0, highlighting the respect both teams had for one another, but also the need to simply grind out a win to try and get their season kickstarted.
The breakthrough came a lot quicker in the second half as just seconds in Sam Kibula stole the ball in the tackle and crossed over, Meadows conversion putting Batley at a comfortable 14-0 lead.
Meadows then got in on the scoring of tries as he crossed and converted in the 54th minute to put the game out of Barrow’s reach at 20-0.
He was off target in the 72nd minute when his conversion missed following Dale Morton’s score in the corner meaning Batley led 24-0.
In a game that was expected to be relatively even and a game that both sides could use as a spring block to start their season, there was only one side who seized that opportunity.
Barrow did manage to get themselves on the board as former Salford man Greg Burke burst through to score in the 74th minute, the conversion making it 24-6.
They also managed to add another consolation try through Jarrod Sammut at the death which made the scoreline look far kinder, finishing up 24-12.
It’ll be concerning times for Paul Crarey whose side have just one point from 12, in a season where they were expected to be fighting for the playoffs once again.
As for Batley they’ll look to add more wins and build some form in this early stage of the season.