Matt Diskin’s Batley Bulldogs faced the Toronto Wolfpack at Hull KR’s KCOM Craven Park and the Canadian side were not in the mood for losing after last weeks battering against Toulouse Olympique.
It took the Wolfpack less than five minutes to get on the scoreboard in what was classed as a Toronto home game. They were camping inside the Bulldogs twenty metres and as the ball was shifted to the left hand edge to Matty Russell there was nothing Batley could do to stop the Scottish international from sliding over. Gareth O’Brien pull the conversion wide to keep the score 4-0.
The Wolfpack had a second inside 11 minutes, as the Bulldogs were caught defending too wide and O’Brien released the ball at the last moment and Andrew Dixon scored just to the right of the posts. O’Brien converted this time and Toronto led 10-0.
Batley then responded perfectly through Dave Scott. Dane Manning made a wonderful break on his own 40 metre-line, running at on offside Jon Wilkin, leaving him with just O’Brien to beat and with Scott in support, Manning released the full-back who scored under the posts. Scott the converted his own score to make it 10-6 after 15 minutes.
Batley were not lying down and allowing Toronto all of the ball. Despite the scoreline they got themselves on the front foot as Niall Walker was tackled dangerously by Gareth O’Brien and started a set of six just 15 metres out.
Toronto managed to hold out though and just five tackles later scored their third try of the half. Jack Logan waited patiently on the right wing and Josh McCrone saw this, and nudged a kick over the top of the Bulldogs defence and the winger, on loan from Hull FC, scored at the home of bitter rivals Hull KR. O’Brien missed his conversion once more as the Wolfpack led 14-6 after 28 minutes.
It didn’t take long for the fourth try to follow. This time it came down the left hand edge once more. Batley were caught defending too narrow and the Wolfpack were left with a two man overlap. Ricky Leutele received the ball and beat Scott to the line and dive over the line. O’Brien’s conversion rebounded back off the upright and Toronto’s lead was 12 points.
A third try in the space of five minutes came the way of Matty Russell and the left hand edge of Toronto was looking to be ruthless. Gareth O’Briens miss pass to Matty Russell gave the winger 15 metres of open space and after building up his speed Niall Walker could not stop the Scotsman. O’Brien missed his conversion once more but the Wolfpack were 22-6 up after 33 minutes.
The game was all but wrapped up in just the 38th minute as Leutele picked off a loose pass from Oliver Russell and race 60 metres to score. Ryan Brierley took control of the kicking duties and duly delivered to make the score 28-6 before half-time.
HALF-TIME: Toronto Wolfpack 28-6 Batley Bulldogs
Matty Russell thought he had grabbed his hat-trick in the 43rd minute but Niall Walker managed to out enough pressure on his opposite number and Russell stepped on the whitewash.
Batley had done well to keep Toronto out inside the first 15 minutes of the second half but that defensive security didn’t last long. The experienced Jon Wilkin crashed straight through the middle of the Batley line on the last tackle and score a four-pointer to the left of the posts. O’Brien converted successfully once more and Toronto led 34-6.
The Bulldogs weren’t going to give up on picking up a win though and as the rain started to fall grabbed their second try of the evening. A kick through was batted back into the in-goal area by Dane Manning and the Jouffret dived onto the ball to score. Dave Scott converted once more as the lead was cut down to 22 points.
The rain was coming down sideways and viciously now into the faces of the Wolfpack which seemed to be playing into the hands of Batley.
With the second-half score say at 6-6 and with less than 10 minutes remaining, Batley were still piling bodies into tackles. This wasn’t good news for Chase Stanley who was bent backwards in a four man hit.
With the bad weather,both teams were making mistakes in the middle of the park and despite pushing forwards, Batley could not score any more points as Toronto closed the game out.
FULL-TIME: Toronto Wolfpack 34-12 Batley Bulldogs
Tries: Matty Russell (2), Andrew Dixon, Jack Logan, Ricky Leutele (2), Jon Wilkin
Goals: Gareth O’Brien (2/6), Ryan Brierley (1/1)
Tries: Dave Scott
Goals: Dave Scott (1/1)