Batley Bulldogs book play-off semis place for second successive year

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Batley Bulldogs extended their season by at least one more week as they produced a strong defensive display to beat Barrow Raiders in their Betfred Championship elimination play-off.

Craig Lingard’s men will now travel to play league runners-up Featherstone Rovers this Sunday (4pm) with a place in the play-offs final at stake.

And they will go there with confidence after overcoming Championship surprise packets Barrow on their own patch at the Matt Johnson Prestige Stadium.

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It was a tight contest initially and typical play-off rugby with chances at both ends that the team could not take. The hosts looked to nudge in front with a penalty, but the kick was missed from 35 metres out.

Alistair Leak scored two tries in Batley Bulldogs' victory at Barrow.Alistair Leak scored two tries in Batley Bulldogs' victory at Barrow.
Alistair Leak scored two tries in Batley Bulldogs' victory at Barrow.

They did take the two on offer, however, when they were awarded a penalty for offside with the visitors defending their line with Ryan Shaw sending the ball between the uprights this time.

Batley hit back, but it took them until the last play of the opening half to register their first points as Luke Hooley’s long ball sent winger Jonny Campbell over for a try converted by Tom Gilmore.

A great move saw the Bulldogs extend their lead after the break when quick hands created space for hooker Alistair Leak to go over under the sticks. Gilmore tagged on the extras to make it 12-2.

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Raiders fought back to force some strong pressure and were rewarded as Ellis Gillam powered over for a try converted by Shaw.

With only four points between the teams it was nip and tuck again, but Batley clinched victory when they ran the ball on the last tackle and Leak collected an offload from Jimmy Meadows to dart over.

Gilmore’s third conversion completed the scoring to take the Bulldogs into the semi-finals for the second successive year.