Honour in defeat as Batley push big-spending Wolfpack all way

Batley Bulldogs produced a terrific effort as they came close to pulling off an upset against Betfred Championship leaders Toronto Wolfpack.

Pat Walker

The Bulldogs deservedly led 12-6 at half-time having produced some of their best rugby of the season but eventually slipped to a 26-18 defeat against the big-spending Canadian outfit.

The Bulldogs were brilliantly led by a huge effort from their pack with props Alex Rowe and Tommy Holland driving them forward in the early stages.

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Toronto struck with an eighth minute try as Liam Kay burst up the left touchline but was brilliantly hauled down short by full-back Dave Scott.

Toronto moved play back to the left two tackles later and stand-off Josh McCrone stretched over a try which Ryan Brierley converted.

Batley hit back and the pressure eventually told as Patch Walker produced a neat kick to the in goal area and James Harrison pounced to score, with Walker converting.

And the hosts scored another with a terrific individual try in the final seconds of the first half.

Reittie intercepted a Toronto pass and juggled the ball before racing down field and he outpaced Kay and Brierley on a superb 80-metre run to the line.

Reittie dived over for a spectacular try but was injured in the process and received lengthy treatment in the right corner as the hooter sounded.

Walker landed a superb touchline goal and the Bulldogs left the field to a standing ovation before Reittie was helped from the field with a dislocated shoulder.

Batley were starved of possession for long periods of the second half and Toronto full-back Gareth O’Brien went on to turn the game with an 11-minute hat-trick, with Brierley converting one.

Jack Bussey’s try, which Brierley converted, made sure of the win, but Batley battled on and were rewarded with a last-minute consolation try.

Michael Ward bounced off a tackle and did well to keep the ball alive as they moved left for Brad Day to race through and score a try Walker improved.