Batley Bulldogs moved joint top of the Kingstone Press Championship with victory over Dewsbury Rams in what will go down as one of the craziest Heavy Woollen derbies in living memory.
In a breathless encounter, there were an incredible 13 tries scored, Dewsbury had three players sin-binned, while there was a penalty count of 18-5 to the Bulldogs, 14 of which came in a frenetic second half.
Batley – led by a fantastic display by Keegan Hirst – raced into an early 12-0 lead.
Hirst linked with Luke Blake before sending Alistair Leak over for the opening try. Leak scored soon after and two Pat Walker conversions saw the Bulldogs lead 12-0. Dewsbury attempted to hit back but a loose pass was scooped up by Wayne Reittie, who raced 75 metres to the line.
Winger Reittie did superbly well to scoop up Dominic Brambani’s kick and score as Batley extended their lead to 20-0.
Dewsbury fought back as Andy Kain broke through and sent Luke Adamson racing over for a try which Paul Sykes improved.
Just a minute later full-back Josh Guzdek raced over for a fine individual try which Sykes converted from the touchline.
Dewsbury were right back in the game only to have Joel Farrell sin-binned and Walker kicked the resulting penalty goal
Alex Brown gathered Brambani’s lovely crossfield kick to score in the final minute of the first half as Batley led 26-12.
The Bulldogs went further ahead when Shaun Ainscough pounced to score following hesitation in the Rams defence and Walker landed another penalty.
Shane Grady pulled a try back for the Rams but as the penalty count mounted against them, Walker slotted over another goal.
Sadly, scuffles broke out on the terraces, marring an otherwise fantastic spectacle. Grady was sin-binned after Dewsbury had been put on a team warning but while down to 12 men Guzdek sent Dale Morton racing in.
The Rams were then given real hope when Kain sent Sykes crashing over. A terrific move saw Sykes send Kain racing over behind the posts and Hemingway’s goal reduced the arrears to 36-30.
Batley responded on the back of another penalty and Brad Day crashed over to seal their win.Walker converted and added a last-minute penalty.
Dewsbury Rams: Guzdek; Morton, Crookes, Grady, Grant; Sykes, Spearman; Groat, Hemingway, Hepworth, L Adamson, Trout, Aaron Brown. Substitutes: Tonks, Spicer, Kain, Farrell.
Batley Bulldogs: D Scott; Reittie, Cowling, Ainscough, Alex Brown; Walker, Brfambani; Hirst, Leak, Rowe, Chandler, Day, Blake. Substitutes: J Brown, Lillycrop, Harrison, Davey.
Referee: Chris Kendall.