Rochdale Hornets v Batley Bulldogs
Saturday 12th May 2018, 15:00pm
Championship - Round: 1
Stats over last 8 encounters
HORNETS FACE DOG FIGHT
Rochdale Hornets welcome Batley Bulldogs to the Crown Oil Arena, as their rescheduled round one clash takes place on Saturday afternoon, a week before they face the same side on the road.
Rochdale Hornets ended a seven game losing streak last weekend, as Dec Kay showed great footwork to dance his way under the black dot for a last minute match winner over Dewsbury Rams. Seta Tala crossed twice, with Matty Hadden also scoring, while Tyler Whittaker kicked six goals from six and picked up a try himself in the 32-27 triumph at the Tetley’s Stadium.
Batley Bulldogs go into this game off the back of a heart-breaking defeat, as Ryan Johnston’s late try snatched a 20-18 victory for Barrow Raiders at Craven Park. Dave Scott, Dominic Brambani and Alex Bretherton were all on the score sheet, with Patrick Walker adding three conversions, however it was in vain as they fell to a second straight defeat.
These two sides last met in Rochdale in the Championship Shield last season, with the visitors taking the spoils on that day. Scott and Bretherton picked up a brace each, with Jason Crookes and Shaun Ainscough rounding off the scoring in a 34-14 victory.
For Hornets, Jake Eccleston, Kevin Penny and Danny Yates scored consolation efforts, with Yates also adding a single goal, as they fell to a third defeat of the season at the Bulldogs’ hands.
Two months earlier, Batley ran out 24-14 winners in a league meeting in which Alistair Leak, Ainscough and Adam Gledhill all scored. Rochdale’s tries were scored by Eccleston, Gary Middlehurst and current Bulldog Lewis Galbraith.
Even earlier in the season, a dramatic encounter saw Rochdale throw away a commanding lead to fall to a controversial defeat. Tom Lillycrop’s late try sealed a 38-36 win for the home side, leaving the Hornets staff and players reeling as the score seemed to have come from a knock-on in the build-up.
Galbraith was also on target on that day, along with Rob Massam, Harvey Livett, Benjamin Jullien, Matty Hadden and Jack Johnson.
Alan Kilshaw could welcome back Dave Allen, Joe Taira and Rob Massam, as they are in contention for Saturday’s encounter. Lewis Hatton (concussion) and Gary Middlehurst (fractured hand) are ruled out though, with Richard Lepori and Earl Hurst also unavailable.
In comes Jordan Symes, who could make his debut following a loan move from Halifax this week, while Warrington Wolves youngster Luis Johnson is in the frame.
Hornets 19-man squad: Miles Greenwood, Dec Kay, Jordan Symes, Rob Massam, Danny Yates, Joe Taira, Pat Moran, Matty Hadden, Dave Allen, Luis Johnson, Jonah Cunningham, Blake Turner, Alex Gaskell, Seta Tala, Morgan Smith, Tyler Whittaker, Deon Cross
ONES TO WATCH
Lewis Galbraith – Hornets fans will know all about this man, after he spent the last two seasons with the club, helping them to the League 1 title. The centre has featured 11 times so far this campaign, scoring just once, however he will be looking to perform against his former club. He offers some strike play in the centres, having scored 12 times in 44 Hornets appearances.
Pat Walker – The Bulldogs half-back has made Hornets pay in the past, as his kicking from the tee was crucial in their victories in this fixture last season. He has 26 goals to his name so far this season, and can handle his nerves under pressure when looking to tag on the extras.
Shaun Ainscough – With plenty of pace to burn out wide, Rochdale will need to be on their mettle to halt Ainscough’s scoring run against them. In the three meetings last campaign, the winger raced in for four tries and will be looking to add to his tally in the back-to-back clashes of the two outfits.
Don’t miss out on what will be the Hornets’ last home game before their annual away tour, as the Crown Oil Arena pitch is relayed.
Tickets can be purchased on the gate, with prices at £16 for adults, £13 for concession and £5 for kids.