Pre-season Round-up: Bradford and Batley in try-fest, Barrow battle with Workington and reflection following York victory

The first weekend of pre-season rugby league in 2022 has come to an end, with three games containing Championship sides all stealing the show.

On Friday night York City Knights underlined their early play-off credentials with a 46-6 win over Midlands Hurricanes. The newly named side put up a good fight against the established Championship outfit but conceded eight tries on the night as Jamie Ellis enjoyed a fruitful evening with the kicking tee.

Liam Harris and Ollie Butterworth crossed for braces whilst skipper and ex-Wakefield man Danny Kirmond scored a four pointer.

After the game, Midlands CEO Alan Robinson noted his pride at his side’s efforts and they have since pencilled in another friendly against top Championship opposition with Bradford taking the Hurricanes on come the 12th February despite playing Leigh in a league fixture two days after.

Hoping to finish ahead of the Bulls in 2022 and in the play-off spots, York’s triumph gave Head Coach James Ford a lot to be pleased about. He told York’s Twitter page: “I’m pleased to get the win. It’s a new team, the first time on grass in pretty challenging conditions, and I thought parts of it were really good. At times I thought we looked cohesive and slick and really threatening.

“I thought we looked strong and robust defensively in the line but there were some bits and pieces which weren’t quite good enough. I thought our timing and link-up play probably wasn’t where it needed to be and I thought we missed too many short sides.”

Meanwhile on Sunday, two all-Championship fixtures caught the eye. Bradford and Batley renewed their rivalry after their play-off battle last year whilst the two promoted sides from League 1 tussled as Barrow hosted Workington.

Last year’s League 1 table toppers again proved slightly better than Workington with a 24-12 win which was wrapped up by a late try from Ellis Gillam. That came after Ryan Shaw had restored their six-point advantage with a try and goal after Matt Henson’s try 15 minutes after the break levelled matters for Workington.

Workington had taken the lead after 16 minutes through Oscar Thomas but ultimately Barrow had too much for them.

Meanwhile Bradford and Batley served up nine tries at Odsal with Batley edging a thriller 28-22. The Bulls had led 12-0 after 10 minutes thanks to tries from Sam Scott and skipper Steve Crossly who capitalised on an Ant Walker offload. Dec Patton, on debut having joined from Salford, nailed the early conversion attempts but wasn’t joined in the halves by Jordan Lilley but instead paired with ex-Salford man Elliot Kear.

Patton wasn’t the only Bull on debut with Jordan Baldwinson on the bench whilst nine Bulls academy products also featured.

Batley would soon level matters through Jonny Campbell and Lucas Walshaw but a Kear try for the Bulls looked set to see them lead at the break. However, a Senior try from a Bradford error turned the tables giving them Batley the lead for the first time at 18-16. They then established an eight-point advantage before a Dan Fleming try again made it a two-point game.

However, a spectacular second try from Campbell ensured Batley repeated their play-off victory over the Bulls this time winning 28-22.

Both sides had positives to be pleased with coming out of the game with the Championship season just three weeks away.

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