A rampant Batley Bulldogs ran in seven tries against Keighley Cougars to easily secure their place in the last-16 of the Challenge Cup at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium.
Cougars scored through Robbie Storey, Mark Ioane and Dan Parker and Batley ensured the win with Lucas Walshaw and Aidan McGowen both scoring twice, in addition to tries from Josh Hodson, Dale Morton and Jimmy Meadows, as the Bulldogs romped to a 34-16 victory.
The deserved win ensured Craig Lingard’s men are not only in the sixth round of the sport’s most famous competition – when the big boys of Super League enter – but they are now just 80 minutes away from the prospect of a first ever appearance at Wembley having booked their place in the 1895 Cup semi-finals.
The Bulldogs are proving to be a nightmare for Keighley this season.
The sides last met in round four of the Championship, at the same venue, with Morton diving over in the very last play to secure a dramatic 28-23 victory that never seemed likely.
But after Morton added to Hodson’s try for two scores right at the end of the first half, the Bulldogs had stolen the momentum and cruised to victory in the second half.
There were no signs of the one-sided nature that eventually transpired in the tie, as both sides went set-for-set and traded early tries.
Walshaw went over for his first to open the scoring, powering over after a couple of errors from the visitors.
Robbie Storey, who was on the try sheet in that February classic, then levelled with a smart try in the corner.
But that was as good as it got for Rhys Lovegrove’s men. Hodson, who had scored 32 of Batley’s 140 points they had already notched in this season’s Challenge Cup in heavy scoring wins over Wath Brow and Hunslet ARLFC, made it nine tries in three knockout games when he darted in at the far corner.
Morton gave the Bulldogs a comfy cushion at the break when he went over in similar fashion. And Batley, well and truly, took that momentum into the second half with a further four tries to put the game out of sight.
A Morton interception on halfway appeared to be the trigger, although the winger couldn’t get over the line. McGowen, however, did have success moments later.
Hodson then split the Keighley defence in two with a bombarding run through the middle, which eventually resulted in Walshaw going over for his second.
It was relentless. You couldn’t catch your breath. The Cougars couldn’t catch their opponents.
Meadows showed creative invention to dive onto his own kick before McGowen got his brace.
Mark Ioane and Dan Parker grabbed late consolation tries to narrow the scoreboard slightly, but Batley, on the whole, proved too strong and head into Monday evening’s last-16 draw in high spirits.
Batley: McGowen, Morton, Hodson, Buchanan, Kear, White, Woods, Lillycrop, Kaye, Brown, Flynn, Walshaw, Reilly
Interchanges: Meadows, Gledhill, Ward, Hirst
Tries: Walshaw (2), Hodson, Morton, McGowen (2), Meadows
Conversions: Meadows (3)
Keighley: Young, Graham, Storey, Stephenson, Crooks, Roby, Gale, Santi, Doyle, Ioane, Levy, Adebiyi, Spence
Interchanges: Walker, Everett, Parker, Kesik
Tries: Storey, Ioane, Parker
Conversions: Gale (2)
Match referee: Mr Vella