Remarkably, despite being part time and finishing fifth in a league where two teams have really splashed the cash, Batley are 80 minutes away from Super League after stunning second place Featherstone Rovers this evening to book their place in the Million Pound Game against Leigh.
Smartly, considering the odds against them and the psychological boost it no doubt gave them, Batley quickly took the lead early on when Tom Gilmore nailed an early penalty to make it 2-0.
That gave the Bulldogs confidence that they turned into further points when Jonny Campbell dived over as the away side ran it on the last tackle. Gilmore’s conversion made it 8-0.
The points kept coming for the Bulldogs as they got another six five minutes later as reported Leeds target Luke Hooley broke and out foxed opposite number Craig Hall to score under the sticks to get a vital try.
Hall responded instantly fortunately for Fev as he crossed for a try of his own four minutes later adding the conversion too.
At 14-6, Fev might have been happy heading into the break but just before the interval James Meadows dummied over to extend Batley’s lead out to 20-6.
Needing a response after halftime Josh Hardcastle came up with a try within the first five minutes of the second half to make it 20-12. However, Batley for the third time would take a 14-point lead when Lucas Walshaw got over after Batley had gone close the tackle before.
Then came the controversial moment as Hardcastle scored a copy of his first try and was deemed to have been fouled in the act of scoring thus Hall had two attempts at goal nailing the second one to make it 26-18.
The you score, we score nature of the second 40 continued when Dane Manning touched down Gilmore’s kick to make it 32-18 with 22 minutes to go.
Seemingly a decisive try, Featherstone wouldn’t go away and for the first time in the game notched back to back tries when Ryley Jacks put over Connor Jones before minutes later Joey Leilua’s perfectly timed no look pass set up former Leeds winger Luke Briscoe for the try.
Craig Hall was only able to convert one leaving the score 32-28 however that was as close as Featherstone got suffering a shock defeat to the Bulldogs and missing out on Super League yet again this time without even getting to the Million Pound Game.