Fantastic Featherstone Rovers Batter Brave Batley Bulldogs

All the action from The Sportsman's latest live Betfred Challenge Cup game
16:45, 13 Mar 2022

Featherstone Rovers march on to a potential Betfred Challenge Cup sixth round tie with a Super League side, after a comprehensive 54-20 victory at Batley Bulldogs. Brian McDermott's men attacked with verve, pace and an abundance of clever, short passes. It was a comprehensive display, and one that makes their coach's target of promotion seem entirely achievable.

Batley are well-versed in this competition, having won the first ever Challenge Cup. They got the scoring underway today at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium. Greg Johnson completed a quick-passing move, securing the try under a heavy challenge from Jordan Pickersgill. The conversion went wide, but the Bulldogs were off to a good start.

It wasn’t to last, as Featherstone took control for the majority of the half. Junior Moores finished a powering run with a superb dummy-pass before finding Craig Hall, who scored the try and then converted. James Lockwood then found Adam Cuthbertson with a clever pass, as the Yorkshireman weaved through a hole in the Batley defence. Hall once again nailed his kick, to make it an eight-point game.

Hall’s influential display continued, as he slotted a pass through to Morgan Smith. The 23-year-old played in Pickersgill to extend the lead, and Hall once again did the job with the conversion.

The one-way traffic was finally stemmed just before the half-time whistle. Michael Ward had been an impactful presence since coming off the Batley bench, and he pulled the gap back to ten points scorng a try after a Tom Gilmore 40-20 gained valuable ground. Gilmore converted the try and Featherstone were finally given a little something to think about.

After a spirited start to the second half from the Bulldogs, Hall once again got his name on the scoresheet. His seventh try of the season was expertly set-up by Pickersgill, and Hall added two points underneath the post. The try arrived at a crucial time, just at the point when Batley seemed to be finding their elusive rhythm.

Luke Cooper was the next to cross the Batley line, receiving a classy short ball from Matty Wildie and using a clever change of direction to score the try. Hall shocked the Mount Pleasant crowd by finally faltering on a conversion. It was one of the easier kicks he’d had positionally, but even the best aren’t perfect.

The short ball came off again shortly after, as Lockwood found Brett Ferres. The passes from Featherstone had been quick and precise throughout the game, and Batley were punished time and time again. Hall atoned for his miss by curling one in from a position just to the left of the posts.

Perry Whiteley was set free by Luke Hooley to hand Batley a slender lifeline with the try. The conversion asked a lot from Tom Gilmore, with the angle and distance conspiring to prevent the addition of more points. With a 22 point deficit to make up and 20 minutes in which to do it, you got the sense this task was beyond Craig Lingard’s side.

The green shoots of recovery for Batley would soon be plucked. Cuthbertson and Joseph Leilua linked brilliantly wide on the right to hand Luke Briscoe his fifth try of the campaign. The conversion was tricky, but Hall took his wide kick brilliantly to add the two. 

Hooley once again carved out a response for his side, taking the Featherstone back-line with him before finding George Senior. The centre dashed in nicely to take the try, and the conversion restored the 22-point deficit. Time was ticking, but Batley Bulldogs were showing tremendous spirit to continue the fight.

Connor Jones showed tremendous power to break through the lines, and passed into the on-rushing Wildie. The 31-year-old raced through tremendously to score a pulse-pounding try. The conversion had Featherstone eyeing the half-century, as they looked to crown a dominant performance.

They didn’t have to wait long for it, as Brian McDermott’s side went further in front through Ryley Jacks. Craig Hall’s precision from on the conversions put the game to bed conclusively. Featherstone Rovers lit up The Sportsman’s live and exclusive coverage with a superb display, and they now go on to the sixth round hoping to meet Betfred Super League opposition.

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