Long wait for Bulldogs to taste success over Eagles finally over

Batley Bulldogs' Scott Leatherbarrow.
Batley Bulldogs' Scott Leatherbarrow.
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It is difficult to fault Batley for choosing their time to end a dismal run against Sheffield with their first win since 2010.

The victory saw them take back sixth place in the Championship and left the Eagles hanging on to the final play-off place.

The Bulldogs kept their noses in front with Scott Leatherbarrow taking advantage of the short Owlerton pitch to kick three penalties.

Sheffield were chasing the game after two early tries in the space of three minutes from winger Wayne Reittie and centre Ben Heaton, with Leatherbarrow converting the second.

Eagles dragged themselves back helped by a string of penalties with Dominic Brambani off-loading for back rower Will Hope to score, Brambani adding the goal. When the visitors started to catch up in the penalty count Leatherbarrow kicked the first of his three to give Batley a 12-6 half-time lead.

Eagles put the restart kick out and Leatherbarrow attempted a repeat, but hit an upright. Within a couple of minutes he had another penalty and put it over.

The lead was cut to two points when centre Menzie Yere went over from dummy half. Batley lost Ben Black with a knee injury, but Leatherbarrow’s off-load sent Jacob Fairbank over.

Eagles edged closer with Yere’s second try but their pressure left them vulnerable with Leatherbarrow putting in winger Brown to seal the win. Leatherbarrow added the extras and, in the final minute, his third penalty from halfway.

“It’s important to beat Sheffield after we had 16-17 games since we last beat them,” said coach John Kear.

“We were focused on putting that right and there were obvious benefits to the league table as well.

“The response to a very poor performance last week (at Featherstone) was excellent.”

Sheffield Eagles: Laulu-Togagae; Turner, Yere, Straugheir, Taulapapa; Walker, Brambani; Battye, Henderson, Stringer, Green, Knowles, Briggs. Substitutes: Davey, Lillycrop, Hope, Uaisele.

Batley Bulldogs: Greenwood; Riette, Paterson, Heaton, Brown; Black, Leatherbarrow; Smith, Nicholson, Applegareth, Davies, Scott, Blake. Substitutes: Rowe, Johnson, Channdler.

Referee: G Stokes.