York City Knights 18 Batley Bulldogs 10: Bulldogs stunned by York’s triumph

York created a major upset by defeating second-placed Batley Bulldogs in a game that pulsated from beginning to end.

A lively opening with Wayne Reittie losing control of the ball for the Bulldogs close to the try line was quickly countered as Anthony Thackeray took the ball up to the defence before selling the perfect dummy and striding through to give Ryan Esders the touchdown with Tom Bush goaling.

The game was ebbing and flowing to keep the spectators totally absorbed and Paul Mennell produced the magic for the Bulldogs. A delayed pass from the classy half-back was sufficient to cause a gap and Alex Bretherton cut through at pace to score.

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With Paul Handforth perhaps surprisingly striking the ball to the left of the posts the game remained evenly poised as Reittie for Batley and Garside for the Knights went close.

The game remained tense but York scored again. Jack Lee from dummy half disguised the pass to perfection for prop Nathan Freer to hit the ball on the burst and score with the goal from Bush creating an eight-point advantage.

Both sides maintained the impressive momentum to entertain the spectators but it was York who went further ahead as Duane Straugheir powered through to touch down from Thackeray’s pass with Bush again adding the extras.

Batley increased the tension with three minutes remaining as George Flanagan burrowed over to score and with Handforth goaling the deficit was reduced to eight points but ultimately to no avail.

York: Bush, Sutton, Ford, Esders, Tuffour, Thackeray, Presley, Freer, Lee, Benson, Straugheir, Garside, Clarke. Substitutes: E Smith, Lewis, Waller, Aldous.

Batley: Preece, Reittie, Walton, Maun, Brown, Handforth, Mennell, B Smith, Lythe, Hesketh, Manning, Bretherton, Toohey Substitutes: Buttery, Flanaghan, Robinson, Tootill.

Referee: G Stokes (St Helens).