By Daniel Senior
Halifax fell to a disappointing defeat at the hands of the Batley Bulldogs on a miserable Sunday afternoon at The Fox’s Biscuits Stadium.
The 24-6 loss is the second in as many games for Richard Marshall’s men after last week’s 32-26 defeat to Featherstone, whilst Batley recovered well after a battering in Toulouse in round one, to the delight of Matt Diskin.
In what should have been a relatively even affair, the visitors failed to assert any dominance throughout as Batley simply managed the conditions better than their opponents.
It took just two minutes for Batley to register their first points of the game as Halifax got off to another slow start.
A neat kick through from the impressive Dom Brambani was met gleefully by Sam Smeaton, the centre crossing against his former club. Pat Walker added the two with a simple conversion as Batley raced to a 6-0 lead.
Halifax tightened up in defence after the early error during a scrappy period through the middle of the first half, but they were too wasteful in possession to create any chances of their own.
It would be Batley who seized the opportunity once again, as the home side registered their second try of the first half.
There had been an element of controversy surrounding the award of a penalty for obstruction in the build-up, but Alex Bretherton crossed the line unchallenged by the would-be Fax defence. Another simple kick for Walker made it 12-0, with Batley now firmly in control.
Once again Fax regrouped, but still couldn’t make their possession count with too many unforgivable simple errors, even despite the weather.
Dane Manning became the third Batley man to score, crashing over next to the posts as the first half neared its conclusion. Walker’s kick added insult to injury as Halifax went in at half-time, 18-0 down and seemingly out of the contest already.
Fax enjoyed a sustained period at the beginning of the second half, some good kicks from Scott Murrell helping them enjoy more of the ball in Batley’s territory.
But, ultimately, the visitors were still trying to be too fancy in their play in testing conditions. The penalties continued to accumulate, with knock-ons and holding down at the play of the ball still very much a feature.
The Bulldogs had spent most of the second half on the back foot, but again they made their chances count.
Joe Chandler scored the fourth of the afternoon, another player up against his old club, as Batley killed the game off emphatically. Cain Southernwood added the extras with ease, now Batley 24-0 Halifax.
Gareth Moore tried to give the travelling Fax fans something to shout about, kicking a brilliant 40-20. But, the officials saw it differently, awarding Batley the put-in at the scrum, and that just about summed up Fax’s afternoon.
Fax would eventually get their consolation try, James Saltonstall going over after great work from James Woodburn-Hall. Steve Tyrer added the two points to make the score 24-6, Halifax salvaging some sort of pride late on.
There would be no more joy for Fax, though, as they’re left with plenty to think about ahead of their next game at home to Sheffield Eagles.