Batley Bulldogs 29-20 Keighley Cougars Match Report by Joshua Chapman (@Chapalar) in Association with A1 Stairlifts.
A controversial decision which allowed Batley to open up a six point lead midway through the second half paved the way for a Cougars defeat.
Bulldogs prop Alex Rowe should have been sent to the sin bin for a shoulder charge on Danny Jones moments before breaking through a tackle to send Miles Greenwood racing down the infamous slope before former Keighley scrum half Scott Leatherbarrow scored under the posts.
Prior to the talking point off the game, the game was a pretty even affair with both sides scoring tries of dominant periods of possession.
After a sloppy error strewn opening to the fixture, in which Batley’s on loan winger Alex Brown had a try ruled out from a Josh Griffin forward pass, the Cougars struck first blood.
Paul Handforth took the ball across the field and passed the ball to James Haley who got the ball free from a tackle to send Paul White over in the corner.
Tiger was at the forefront of the Cougars second try when he threw the Batley defence a dummy and raced fifty metres down the hill before offloading round the full back Greenwood to allow Lewis Graham a third try of the season.
Batley failed to break down the visiting defence until the departure of Luke Haigh, who had looked active throughout the game and Jon Kear’s side finished the half the stronger of the two sides.
Josh Griffin did well to avoid being put into touch before a quick offload by Leatherbarrow to Sam Scott who then powered through a tackle to get over the line.
Batley went into half time two points off the lead when the side managed to keep the ball alive on the last tackle before Ben Blackmore raced over in the corner.
The second half began with complete Bulldogs domination which came to a conclusion with Griffin getting over for a well-deserved try.
The Cougars drew level five minutes later when Haley threw a lovely executed offload from behind his back into the hands of White who raced over for his second of the afternoon.
Then following the controversial Rowe try, a tight fiteen minute period followed before Batley wrapped up the three points when Simon Brown put over a drop goal from just two metres out in front of the posts.
Josh Lynam’s sloppy throwback from a Danny Jones kick was collected by Griffin who raced seventy metres through five Cougars defenders before offloading at the last moment to put Greenwood under the sticks.
But despite this setback, Keighley did manage to secure a bonus point when Danny Jones took a long range Paul March pass to send James Haley over on the final hooter.
Yorkshire Times Man of the Match – Paul White – The Cougars left side looked deadly throughout even with Cougars on the back foot for most of the second half. The winger grabbed another two tries whilst linking up beautifully with James Haley, who looks better than ever since his return from injury.
Cougars: Craven, Barnett, Cosgrove, Haley, White, Jones, Handforth, Law, Haigh, Hesketh, Lynam, Graham, Rawlins. Interchanges: March, Cherryholme, Bailey, Peltier.
Bulldogs: Greenwood, Blackmore, Paterson, Griffin, A Brown, S Brown, Leatherbarrow, Smith, Blake, Gledhill, Davies, Scott, Applegarth. Interchanges: Rowe, Chandler, Trout, Fairbank.