Rochdale Hornets 14-24 Batley Bulldogs
Sunday 25th June 2017, 15:00pm
Championship - Round: 19
Lewis Gailbraith, Jake Eccleston, Gary Middlehurst,
Adam Gledhill, Shaun Ainscough, Alistair Leak,
Adam Gledhill 2, Pat Walker 4,
HORNETS BEATEN LATE BY BATLEY
For the second time this season Rochdale Hornets were left to think of what could have been against Batley Bulldogs, as they were disappointed to be on the wrong side of a 24-14 score line at the Crown Oil Arena.
For all their hard work during the contest they couldn’t muscle their way in front late on, before a sucker punch of a try with two minutes to go killed off their hopes of picking up two points.
They matched a big Batley pack as their forwards performed brilliantly, led by Hornets man of the match Gary Middlehurst who was his usual busy self in defence and attack.
Alan Kilshaw was left proud of his men’s performance, and while he stuck to his mantra of never being happy in defeat he picked up on the consistency of his side over the last two weeks.
On another day they may have made it back-to-back victories, however it wasn’t to be as they couldn’t muster up a game winning moment in the latter stages of the contest.
The hosts were also two rotations down after Jono Smith and Ben Moores picked up knocks, which was a huge blow as both were performing well in the early exchanges.
It was a perfect start to the afternoon for the Hornets as Lewis Foster’s kick-off was knocked on by Jason Crookes, and from the resulting set Lewis Galbraith raced over through a gap on the left edge.
The visitors replied after 12 minutes, with Adam Gledhill proving too strong after charging onto a flat pass from 10 metres out, as Patrick Walker added the conversion from in front.
Smith’s decision to force an offload inside his own half was then punished by the visitors as they picked up possession, and two tackles later crossed through Shaun Ainscough as he was in support of Dane Manning.
Hornets should have been awarded a try soon after as Rob Massam showed great power on the last tackle to find the line when cutting back inside, although the referee called the winger held up over the line.
They did hit back on 28 minutes though, as firstly they defender their line brilliantly before back-to-back penalties advanced them up the field. With the Bulldogs on a team warning Foster floated a pass over the top to Jake Eccleston, and he showed great composure to step back inside and finish.
It started to get heated in the middle before Walker took the chance to make it 14-8 with a penalty goal, and despite Foster forcing back-to-back goal-line drop-outs that was how the scores stayed at the break.
Middlehurst was causing problems in the middle for Batley and was rewarded with a try on 53 minutes when he crashed over from a couple of metres out off the back of three penalties. Danny Yates added a conversion to level the scores at 14-14.
Dominic Brambani thought he had kicked a 40/20 only to be denied by the referee, before a rattling hit from Joel Farrell forced a knock on from Declan Kay as the Bulldogs forward chased down a kick. An offside penalty during the set gave Walker the simple task of knocking over another penalty goal to edge the away side ahead.
Foster’s kick-off were troubling the opposition and from the restart he drilled his kick into the floor and forced a knock-on, which Massam pounced on. It was a great chance to hit back and potentially score a crucial try, however a knock-on from the second tackle ended that opportunity.
A great defensive set from the visitors penned Rochdale in their own half, leading to a knock-on as they desperately tried to gain metres. Crookes almost raced away for a try as he scooped up possession, before Alistair Leak burrowed over from dummy half on the next tackle to land the sucker punch.
Walker converted from out wide to make it an eight point lead, before he landed a penalty goal from halfway to round off the contest after Foster kicked out on the full.
The players were left dejected as the full-time whistle blew, but on reflection in the sheds they were left upbeat ahead of a crucial final month of the regular season.
Rochdale Hornets: Declan Kay, Jake Eccleston, Jordan Case, Lewis Galbraith, Rob Massam, Lewis Foster, Danny Yates, Ant Walker, Ben Moores, Gavin Bennion, Jono Smith, Josh Crowley, Gary Middlehurst Subs: Ryan Maneely, Joe Taira, Matty Hadden, Lee Mitchell
Tries: Galbraith (1), Eccleston (28), Middlehurst (53)
Goals: Yates 1/2, Foster 0/1
Batley Bulldogs: David Scott, Wayne Reittie, Daniel Cowling, Jason Crookes, Shaun Ainscough, Patrick Walker, Dominic Brambani, Adam Gledhill, Alistair Leak, Thomas Lillycrop, Dane Manning, James Harrison, Bradley Day Subs(all used): Alex Rowe, Joel Farrell, James Davey, James Brown
Tries: Gledhill (12), Ainscough (20), Leak (78)
Goals: Walker 6/6