Super League promotion contenders suffer scare but come out on top in Boxing Day clash

Leeds Rhinos hosting Wakefield Trinity wasn’t the only Boxing Day game, even if it might have been the most talked about, with Batley Bulldogs playing host to Dewsbury Rams at their Mount Pleasant stadium.

Batley made it all the way to the Million Pound Game last season after finishing fifth in the Championship, ultimately losing out to Leigh in the promotion game.

On the other side of the rivalry was Dewsbury who won just three times and tumbled into League One after finishing 13th in the table.

The two met today for the Heavy Woollen derby which has become a Boxing Day tradition and one that is eagerly anticipated as well.

In the three league meetings last year Batley ran out winners each time and they did again today, securing a 32-22 victory, but it wasn’t all plain sailing having gone it down at the break.

Batley announced just earlier this week their bold plan to bolster attendance by reducing prices to just £10 for all adults and free for children for the 2023 season and fans turned out at the Fox’s Biscuit stadium but might have felt flat early on.

Leading 10-4 at half time a Dewsbury side coached by former Super League player Liam Finn and featuring 11 debutants had been value for their lead, but with half-time came the change of halves and Batley used the down-hill to their advantage for the second 40 as they outscored their opponents 28-12 to run out 32-22.

Even that wasn’t simple though as Batley had to score late twice to make the victory a double digit one, pushing out to 32-16 before a consolation try marked the end of the match.

Dewsbury will take a lot from the game and will see their strong test of the Bulldogs as an inspiration to make the immediate return to the Championship, whilst Batley will also try to take the positives on securing another Heavy Woollen victory and getting the cobwebs off the off-season shaken off nice and early.

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