Gallagher gives Batley dramatic win

Batley 28 Dewsbury 26
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The Independent Online

Some devastating attacking rugby from both sides kept the result in the balance throughout, but a try in the 65th minute from John Gallagher - a valuable recent acquisition from Leeds' Academy side - was enough to decide it.

Dewsbury trailed at the half-time break despite scoring two of the most spectacular tries you could ever wish to see - one when Chris Hall flicked a backhand pass to send Darren Rogers on an 80-metre dash, and another when Hall intercepted from Gallagher to run a similar distance.

Batley had led through early tries from Iain Marsh and Mark Sibson, before Rogers struck back with one of the best of his long career.

The equally experienced Ryan Sheridan claimed the equalising try, before Gallagher sent Steve Jones over to put Batley back in the lead.

Hall edged Dewsbury ahead but, after Batley's Darren Robinson and Dewsbury's James Walker were sent to the sin bin for trading blows, Batley finished the half ahead when Barry Eaton booted the ball up field and won the race to touch down.

The match could not quite sustain that pace of change, but Dewsbury regained the lead when another dazzling attack ended with Francis Maloney throwing the ball to the blind-side and Kevin Crouthers going over the line for the try.

Maloney landed the conversion and a penalty, but Batley hit the front again, this time to stay there, when the outstanding Gallagher spotted a gap and darted through.

Eaton's fifth goal gave the Bulldogs a two-point advantage, although Dewsbury came desperately close to overhauling the lead when Robinson's tackle stopped Jonlee Lockwood inches from the line.

Batley: Lingard; Stokes, Marsh, Jones, Sibson; Gallagher, Eaton; Morgan, Lythes, Berry, Richardson, Spears, Robinson. Substitutes used: Lister, Rourke, Shillibeer, McLoughlin.

Dewsbury: Preece; Rogers, Hall, Crouthers, Tillotson; Maloney, Mycoe; Hicks, Chapman, M Walker, Jowitt, Corcoran, Rudder. Substitutes used: Sheridan, McHugh, J Walker, Lockwood.

Referee: B Thaler (Normanton).

* A late flurry of points from Bradford Dudley Hill brought them a 28-26 victory over Bramley in the National League Three Grand Final, also at the Halton Stadium. Bramley, the side reborn from the ashes of the professional club which folded in 1999, led for most of the game, but Tony Williams swung the match with two tries and kicked the winning penalty with two minutes to play.