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

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

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.

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.