Bradford 34 Batley 16: Ainscough sees red as Bulls go top of Championship

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Bradford went top of the Kingstone Press Championship for the first time with a victory that plunges West Yorkshire neighbours Batley into deeper trouble near the foot of the table.

Two tries apiece from Adam Henry and Matty Blythe helped the Bulls to a comfortable win.

But it needed the sending off of former Bulls favourite Shaun Ainscough to give the promotion chasers the room down his flank to finally kill off a brave Bulldogs challenge.

Alex Brown put Batley ahead by out-jumping his opposite number to claim and touch down a Cain Southernwood kick to the corner.

Danny Addy levelled the score with a converted try four minutes later before a James Mendeika touchdown and Henry’s brace earned the hosts a 20-6 lead.

Wayne Reittie replied for Batley just before the break and the sides played out an error-strewn stalemate for half an hour after that.

The decisive moment came when Ainscough was sin-binned for lashing out in a tackle, then the yellow card turned instantly to red for comments he made to referee Jamie Bloemd.

Within a minute Danny Williams exploited the extra space on his wing and Matty Blythe sealed the Bulls’ 17th consecutive league win with two more tries down the same channel in the closing stages.

“We had slack periods in the game but it was good to come away with a decent win in the end,” commented Bulls coach James Lowes, whose side face fellow promotion hopefuls Featherstone at Odsal on Wednesday.

“I’m not interested in being top at the moment as we are there by default, because Leigh have a game in hand after their involvement in the Challenge Cup yesterday.”

Bradford: Mendeika; Williams, Purtell, Henry, Shaw; Blythe, Addy; Clough, O’Brien, Sidlow, Olbison, Ferguson, Pitts. Substitutes: Halafihi, Fleming, Walker, Crossley

Batley: Campbell; Reittie, Ainscough, Day, A Brown; Southernwood, Leatherbarrow; Hirst, Blake, Hesketh, Bretherton, Scott, Chandler. Substitutes: Nicholson, Row, J Brown, Squires.

Referee: J Bloem (RFL).