Batley Boys toasted the golden boot of Adam Bingham last Saturday as his dramatic extra time drop goal secured an historic Ladbrokes Challenge Cup victory over much fancied Underbank Rangers.
Batley were backed by a terrific support as almost 200 spectators made the trip to Huddersfield for the team’s first ever game in the competition and they returned delighted after witnessing a huge upset.
The Boys were big underdogs against a side still celebrating their elevation to the top tier of the Kingstone Press National Conference League.
Batley had earned a place in the Challenge Cup by winning the Yorkshire Men’s League Premier Division title last season and the club were determined to enjoy their day in the limelight.
Batley started well playing down the slope and went close to breaking the deadlock on several occasions in the opening 20 minutes.
Underbank eventually opened the scoring after stealing the ball in a one-on-one tackle and Sam Ansell went over for an unconverted try.
Undeterred, Batley fought back, led by captain Gavin Davies and Matthew Sheridan, along with Aaron James, Declan Tomlinson and Josh O’Sullivan.
Having taken play close to the line, Josh Knowles dived over a try which Adam Bingham converted to edge the Boys ahead.
Batley started playing with confidence as Dan Scales and Shaun Sheard, along with Lewis Hardy, were introduced from the bench.
A wonderful pass from Aaron James found centre Josh Whitehead, who broke down the touchline before sending winger Rob Bingham over to score in the corner.
Adam Bingham’s kicked sailed wide but the Boys held a 10-4 lead at half-time.
Underbank hit back after the break as quick handling created an overlap for Owen Restall to score an unconverted try.
Sheridan, Ryan Crossley and Gavin Davies all returned from the bench to help Batley roll forward up the slope.
Luke Sheridan and Adam Bingham helped Batley pile the pressure on with a couple of wonderful kicks that forced errors from the Underbank backline.
The pressure eventually told as Matthew Sheridan dived over on the last tackle and Declan Tomlinson added the extras to put Batley 16-8 ahead.
Underbank knew they were in a game and piled pressure on the Batley line as they looked to fight back.
Josh Whitehead produced a terrific last-ditch tackle to force Underbank to knock on, while Josh O’Sullivan, Ryan Crossley and Josh Scruton held up a Rangers attacker over the line as the visitors showed great desire to hold onto their advantage.
Eventually the home side’s pressure paid off as a kick wasn’t cleared and Restall pounced on the loose ball for his second try.
Jakob Garside converted to bring Underbank back to within two points and with just 30 seconds of normal time remaining, Garside landed a penalty to send the tie into golden point extra time.
Batley received the ball from the kick off as they set their sights on rolling down field in an attempt to grab the winning points.
Forwards Gavin Davies, Matthew Sheridan, Ryan Crossley, along with Declan Tomlinson and Aaron James, produced excellent carries to take the Boys to within 40 metres of the line, where Adam Bingham attempted a drop goal only to see it charged down and Underbank were then awarded a penalty.
Underbank dropped the ball on both of their attacking sets and this allowed the Batley forwards to drive them back downfield.
The ball was moved to Adam Bingham and this time he landed the winning drop goal to send the Boys players, coaching staff and large travelling support into celebration.
The Batley Boys man-of-the-match was Josh Whitehead, while the players and coaches passed on their thanks to the supporters who made the trip and played their part in the club’s historic day.