Batley Bulldogs v Rochdale Hornets
Sunday 20th May 2018, 15:00pm
Championship - Round: 14
Stats over last 8 encounters
HORNETS BATTLE HARD IN BATLEY LOSS
What a difference a week makes.
After a disappointing defeat at the hands of Batley Bulldogs last weekend, Alan Kilshaw’s men stepped up and gave a hugely improved performance against the same side, although ultimately the outcome was the same.
The two sides met in back-to-back games due to their original round one fixture being postponed, and Hornets welcomed back a number of big names to their squad.
Dave Allen returned after he was a late omission last week, as did Lewis Hatton who had also sat out that game with concussion. Richard Lepori and Earl Hurst were once again available, giving Rochdale a more settled back line.
Rob Massam caused problems throughout, picking up a brace of tries and a try assist, while Lee Mitchell was brilliant in both attack and defence.
The visitors managed the hill well in the first period, trailing by just eight points at the break, but it proved to be at a cost as they looked tired in the opening stages of the second half.
Hornets had reason to feel hard done by, as they had two tries chalked off due to forward passes which could have drastically changed the outcome of the game.
The afternoon started well, as Massam picked up the first of his tries just five minutes in, as he came up with a spectacular diving finish after Dec Kay found him with a cut-out ball.
Dominic Brambani hit back for the Bulldogs, as he stepped his way over from close range to edge his side ahead. Almost immediately after, James Harrison finished off a slick move as Alex Rowe broke from an inside pass to lay on the try.
Hornets clawed their way back within two points with an incredible breakaway try, coming from a clever free play. A knock on was scooped up by Danny Yates, and he spotted Massam in space sending the winger racing away, as Deon Cross went over in support to finish a length of the field effort.
Just before the break Matt Diskin’s men hit back, as Alex Bretherton collected a flat pass from Izaac Farrell to race in under the sticks.
Nine minutes into the second period, Rochdale conceded a soft dummy half try as Farrell burrowed over from close range, giving the hosts a 22-10 advantage.
Kay limped off midway through the half, and his replacement Alex Gaskell almost had his first try for the club, only to be cruelly denied by a harsh forward pass call in the build-up.
Both sides were locked in an arm wrestle, and the pressure began to show on Batley as Farrell opted to add a one-pointer 10 minutes from time.
Hornets came up with a late rally, as a slick show of hands ended in Massam racing in for his second try of the game.
Then, with just nine points in it, Jordan Syme came up with a great break up the guts and had Cross backing him up, sending him in for what should have been a try. Instead, it was chalked off for another harsh forward pass call, to the dismay of the Hornets bench.
With the momentum taken out of their fightback, Kilshaw’s side fell to a 23-14 loss, but left the Fox’s Biscuit Stadium with their heads held high.
Rochdale13 man of the match: Lee Mitchell was just edged out by the brilliant Rob Massam, as the winger collected two tries and set up Deon Cross’ effort. His work in yardage is massively important, as he came up with some big carries to get Hornets on the front foot.