Halifax 12 Batley Bulldogs 17: Dominic Brambani and Pat Walker prove difference for Bulldogs

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Batley Bulldogs continued their strong start to the Championship season with a thoroughly determined 17-12 win over Halifax at the Shay.

Both sides scored two tries, but Batley – who led 8-6 at the interval – took the points thanks to crucial penalties from Dominic Brambani and Pat Walker and some wasteful finishing from the home team.

It was Halifax who carved out the first chance, winger Jake Eccleston being called back for a forward pass after a break down the left flank.

After Gareth Moore had a try disallowed for obstruction, Halifax did finally crack their visitors on the half hour, Moore providing the final pass for back rower Dane Manning to score on the left and Steve Tyrer kicking the conversion for a 6-0 lead.

The home side continued to look the more dangerous, Ben Heaton and Jacob Fairbank both going close to adding tries.

But it was the Bulldogs who landed the sucker punch on the stroke of half-time, Alex Bretherton crossing and Brambani adding a conversion and a last-play long range penalty as the visitors headed for the dressing rooms leading 8-6.

Halifax started the second half with a try from Moore, who gleefully skipped past his former team-mates for a score that Tyrer converted. They almost scored again straight from the restart through Eccleston, before Brambani equalled Moore’s footwork with a try at the other end which he converted himself.

Their lead may have been slender at 14-12, but Batley looked more and more in control as the half wore on, Walker putting them 16-12 ahead before Brambani wrapped things up with a late drop goal.

Again, Halifax had chances, Adam Tangata short of support and Eccleston hauled back for a forward pass.

Halifax:Sharp; Eccleston, Heaton, Tyrer, Saltonstall; G. Moore, Murrell; Ambler, Kaye, Cahalane, Divorty, Manning, Tangata. Substitutes: Fairbank, Maneely, R. Moore, Barber

Bulldogs: Scott; Reittie, Cowling, Ulugia, Ainscough; Southernwood, Brambani; Hirst, Blake, Brown, Bretherton, Chandler, Walker. Substitutes: Leak, Gledhill, Rowe, Lillycrop.

Referee: G Stokes (RFL).