Craig Lingard hails improvement from Batley Bulldogs as they set up Challenge Cup clash with Featherstone Rovers

CRAIG LINGARD hailed the improvement “across the board” from his Batley Bulldogs side as they stunned Halifax Panthers in the first round of the Challenge Cup last weekend.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 6:00 am
VICTORY: Halifax Panthers 6-19 Batley Bulldogs. Picture: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com.

The Bulldogs set up a second-round tie with West Yorkshire rivals Featherstone Rovers, who they will also face in their Championship opener on Friday, April 2.

Batley went into their first competitive game for over a year on the back of a disappointing pre-season display against Featherstone the previous week.

Lingard had called for improvement from his side and felt they more than delivered as they earned a 19-6 win at the Shay Stadium.

VICTORY: Halifax Panthers 6-19 Batley Bulldogs. Picture: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com.

“The improvement was right across the board. We really put it on our middle unit before the game and throughout the week,” said Lingard.

“We had quite an honest review on the Tuesday. The players knew themselves, I had several messages from players after the Featherstone game saying they were embarrassed or disgusted by their performance.

“We did put it on them and told our middle guys that their effort and tempo in the first 10 minutes would dictate the course of the game.

“That is how it turned out. We started the game really well and managed to get a foothold and keep that going for the full 80 minutes.

VICTORY: Halifax Panthers 6-19 Batley Bulldogs. Picture: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com.

“Halifax put some big players in their pack but our forwards did a good job.”

New signings Jack Logan, Jodie Broughton and Ben Kaye - who has made over 100 appearances for Halifax - scored the decisive tries.

Dale Morton had opened the scoring with a penalty goal while Ben White rounded off the performance with a late drop-goal.

Halifax’s only points of the game came from Matt Garside’s converted try.

Batley have recruited strongly for 2021 and Lingard was delighted to see the new Bulldogs players settle in so quickly.

He added: “It is always nice for the new players coming in, especially with the positions that Jack Logan and Jodie Broughton play. They are strike players, they want to be scoring tries.

“They will be pleased and that will build their confidence.

“A lot of our other new guys played really well, Josh Tonks was immense, he played a full 80 minutes out there.

“Elliot Hall put a lovely ball out to the wing for Dale Morton just before Jack Logan’s try.

“Ben Kaye is just so enthusiastic, he just picks the whole team up with his enthusiasm. He celebrates putting his socks on, that is how enthusiastic he is.

“Everyone who took to the field was fantastic for us. It makes all the hard work worthwhile when you get that first victory.”

Featherstone claimed their place in the second round with a comprehensive 41-16 win over Bradford Bulls at Post Office Road on Sunday afternoon.

Batley and Featherstone have already met in pre-season and will now face each other in consecutive weeks, with the duo facing off again on Good Friday in the Championship.

Rovers won 36-16 when the sides clashed in pre-season. Featherstone are among the favourites to earn promotion in 2021.

Lingard added of Saturday’s opponents: “Hopefully we fare a little bit better in the next couple of games than we did in the friendly, it will be interesting to see how we go.”