Batley Bulldogs

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Batley Bulldogs
Batley bulldogs.png
Club information
Full name Batley Bulldogs Rugby League Football Club
Nickname(s) The Bulldogs/The Gallant Youths
Short name Batley Bulldogs
Colours Batley colours.svg Cerise, Gold and White
Founded 1880; 138 years ago (1880)
Website batleybulldogs.co.uk
Current details
Ground(s)
Chairman Kevin Nicholas
Coach Matt Diskin
Captain vacant
Competition Championship
2017 season 6th
Rugby football current event.png Current season
Uniforms
Home colours
Away colours
Records
Championships 1 (1924)
Challenge Cups 3 (1897, 1898, 1901)
Other honours 5

The Batley Bulldogs are an English professional rugby league club in Batley, West Yorkshire,[1][2] who play in the Championship. Batley were one of the original twenty-two rugby football clubs that formed the Northern Rugby Football Union in 1895. They were League Champions in 1924 and have won three Challenge Cups.[1]

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

Batley Cricket Club decided to have a rugby football side merge with them at their ground under the name Batley Cricket Athletic and Football Club. The two local rugby teams, Batley Mountaineers and Batley Athletic, played a challenge match at the cricket club's Mount Pleasant home on 23 October 1880 to determine which was the town's premier rugby side and worthy of the cricket club. Both sides claimed victory but the cricket club chose Batley Athletic to join them.

The new club's first game was at home against Bradford Zingari which they won by 2 goals, 3 touchdowns, 2 dead balls and one touch goal to nil. Jacob Parker scored the first touchdown.[3] The first season finished with Batley having won 15 games and drawn 5 out of 26 matches played.

They won the Yorkshire Challenge Cup in 1884 – 5 season beating Heckmondwike, Pudsey, Halifax, Salterhebble and Bradford before beating Manningham 8 minor points to 2 in the final held at Cardigan Fields in Leeds.

Batley were one of the original twenty-two clubs that met at the George Hotel, Huddersfield on 29 August 1895 and formed the Northern Rugby Football Union. Batley’s first match under the new union was on 7 September 1895 against Hull F.C. at Mount Pleasant with Batley winning 7 – 3.

Sixth in the Yorkshire Senior Competition of 1896/97, they battled their way to third spot come the end of the next season. Where knock-out competitions was concerned, they were peerless. In 1897, the 'Gallant Youths' became the first winners of the Challenge Cup beating St. Helens 10-3, in front of a crowd of 13,492 at Headingley.

Photo taken in 1897, St Helens vs Batley (left) in the first Challenge Cup Final

Batley retained the trophy by beating Bradford Northern on the corresponding weekend the following year at Headingley in front of 27,941 spectators, which was then a record gate for a rugby match.

The club were Yorkshire League winners in 1898/99 and in 1900/01 won the Challenge Cup for the third and last time to date; once again Headingley was the venue as Batley defeated Warrington 6–0.

Wharton 'Wattie' Davies set club records for most appearance, goals and points between 1896-1912. Batley's next cup triumph came on 23 November 1912 when Hull were defeated 17–3 at Headingley in Batley’s one and only Yorkshire County Cup win.

Became a Limited Company Batley Cricket Athletic and Football Club Ltd in 1922

The 'Gallant Youths' reached the semi-final of the Yorkshire Cup and led the league in November 1923. Batley were crowned champions on Saturday 3 May 1924, lifting the Rugby League Championship Trophy for the only time in the club’s history, after defeating Wigan 13–7 in the final. The club were also Yorkshire League winners that season.

The record attendance was set at 23,989 for the visit of Leeds for a third round Challenge Cup match on 14 March 1925.

Post Second World War[edit]

Cerise and fawn colours worn by Batley during the 1980s

1952 saw a Yorkshire Cup final appearance against Huddersfield on 15 November. 'Fartown' running out 18–8 winners.

The club's name was changed from Batley Cricket, Athletic & Football Club Ltd to its present official name of Batley Football Club Ltd in 1979.

The club celebrated its centenary in 1981 with a win over the league's new London team, Fulham.

In the 1960s the league was restructured into two divisions for two seasons before the single-division format was finally ditched in 1973 (there was also a three-season experiment with two divisions at the beginning of the 20th century). Batley are one of only a few teams never to make it into the top flight, although they came very close in 1993/94. The last match of the season against Doncaster came down to being a play-off for a spot in the first division, but Batley lost 10-5 in front of a capacity crowd of 4,500 at Mount Pleasant, and the chance was lost.

The local council suggested that Dewsbury and Batley ground share at Crown Flatt after refusing a grant towards safety repairs to Mount Pleasant in February 1987.

Batley looked set to join the elite in 1995 when they held off Huddersfield to finish in second place, just two points behind champions Keighley. The club succeeded in winning the Second Division Championship in the 1994–95 season. However, when the Super League was created for the following year, Batley along with Keighley were excluded. The club estimated that the decision cost them around £500,000.[4]

Summer rugby era[edit]

Batley-bulldogs-alt.jpg

Batley added 'Bulldogs' to their name for the 1996 season. The newly named Batley Bulldogs finished 1996 at the foot of Division One. Batley won the Trans-Pennine Trophy in 1998 beating Oldham in the final held at Mount Pleasant. Batley were also promoted from the Second Division that same season.

In 2003, Barry Eaton broke the world record for consecutive goal kicks.

The club underwent a major shake up in the coaching staff with the resignation of head coach David Ward due to pressure from some supporters in the form of derisory comments in the local press. The new coaching first team set up involved Gary Thornton as Head Coach, and assistant Paul Harrison.

After a tough season in 2005 Batley were into National League One relegation play-offs, facing bitter rivals and neighbours Dewsbury. Victory in the final saw Batley stay up against increasingly well funded sides with Super League ambitions.

2006 saw Batley start the campaign with little promise after a series of dismal performances in the Northern Rail Cup and the early rounds of National League One. However, coach Gary Thornton turned the side round and Batley made their way into the end of season play-offs. Jay Duffy's late drop goal sealed a 23-22 victory at Leigh to end the Lancastrians' own hopes of promotion and ultimately earn Thornton the honour of National League coach of the year. Batley failed to replicate this success in the next round, crashing to a 30-0 defeat at Whitehaven to put an abrupt end to their season.

After the previous season's mid-table finish 2009 started as a bad season for Batley. Gary Thornton resigned after a 60-22 loss on Easter Monday against Toulouse Olympique He was replaced by Karl Harrison. Batley stayed up after a 30-24 over Featherstone Rovers in which Batley were 14-0 down at one stage, they also beat Leigh, Widnes, Barrow, Whitehaven and Halifax.

2010 started for Batley with 5 wins and 1 draw in the Northern Rail Cup, including a record breaking 100-4 win over Gateshead Thunder. Batley had a good run of wins in the Challenge Cup however they were defeated 74-12 by Catalans Dragons in the Quarter Final. Batley's Co-operative Championship season commenced well with wins over Keighley 22-12, Dewsbury 22-8, Whitehaven 54-6 and Widnes 35-16 to see the club finish in 7th position. Having finished top of their Northern Rail group section, the club entered the knock-out stages. A strong performance away at Leigh in the semi-final, where Batley were clear underdogs, put them into the final on 18 July 2010, where they beat Widnes with two late tries scored by Alex Brown. It was Batley's first silverware since 1998.

2011 saw Batley finish 3rd in the Championship, later to be knocked out of the play-offs by Halifax, whom the Batley coach, Karl Harrison headed to take over for the 2012 season. Batley also took Huddersfield Giants close in their Challenge Cup quarter-final clash at Mount Pleasant. Batley had the lead throughout the game until Dane Manning was shown a red card at around 65 minutes for what many fans of both sides thought unfair. Huddersfield took the one man advantage and managed to outscore the Bulldogs in the last 15 minutes of the game.

2012 saw the arrival of John Kear taking over as head coach of Batley. Batley started 2012 winning the Northern Rail group which saw wins over Championship rivals Featherstone Rovers and Keighley. They also started the Championship season off strong with wins over Leigh, Dewsbury, York City Knights, Keighley and Halifax and a double over Hunslet but defeats came to Featherstone Rovers, Sheffield, Keighley at home, and Swinton Lions.

In April 2016 it was announced Matt Diskin was to take over at Batley Bulldogs from 2017 after John Kear announced he would be joining Wakefield Trinity as director of rugby in 2017.[5]

Batley Cricket, Athletic & Football Club Presidents 1880 - 1922

John W. Blackburn - 1880/April 1890, Dr William Bayldon - April 1890/April 1893, David Fox Burnley - April 1893/April 1899, James Goodall - April 1899/May 1903, William G. Isherwood - May 1903/June 1905, Harry Brook - June 1905/May 1906, Dan Brearley - May 1906/May 1907, J. Harry Spencer - May 1907/May 1909, Harry E. Whitaker - May 1909/May 1911, William H. Shaw - May 1911/May 1913, Samuel Brearley - May 1913/May 1918, John Frederick Whitaker - May 1918/May 1922

Batley Cricket, Athletic & Football Club Ltd Chairmen 1922 - 1979

John Frederick Whitaker - June 1922/May 1925, Ernest Kirk - May 1925/May 1926, Dr William W. Walker - May 1926/June 1927, John Frederick Whitaker - June 1927/May 1929, Arthur Summers - May 1929/July 1929, Dr Frank W. Smorfitt -August 1929/July 1930, Ernest Kirk - July 1930/May 1938, Rubert Asquith - July 1938/May 1940

No Official Chairman from May 1940/January 1942

John 'Jackie' S. Barritt - January 1942/October 1954, William W. Battye - October 1954/May 1955, John 'Jackie' S. Barritt - June 1955/April 1958, Ewart Earnshaw - April 1958/November 1967 & President - November 1967/June 1979, Leslie Driver - November 1967/June 1979

Batley Football Club Ltd Chairmen 1979 -

Peter S. Wilson - June 1979/February 1981, Michael J. Lumb - February 1981/March 1989, Stephen A. Ball - March 1989/May 1995 & President May 1995/January 1996, Ron Earnshaw - May 1995/June 1996 & President September 2007/October 2013, Trevor Hobson - June 1996/November 1997, Kevin M. Nicholas - November 1997/

2018 squad[edit]

2018 Batley Bulldogs Squad
First team squad Coaching staff

Head coach

Assistant coaches


Legend:
  • (c) Captain(s)
  • (vc) Vice captain(s)
  • Cruz Roja.svg Injured

Updated: 25 November 2017
Source(s): 2018 Squad Numbers

2018 transfers[edit]

Gains

Player Club Contract length Date
England Michael Ward Oldham R.L.F.C. 1 Year September 2017
England Johnny Campbell Bradford Bulls 1 Year September 2017[6]
England Tom Holland Whitehaven 1 Year October 2017
England Izaac Farrell Huddersfield Giants (On Loan) 1 Year November 2017[7]
England Tom Hemingway Dewsbury Rams 1 Year October 2017
England Keenan Tomlinson Bradford Bulls 1 Year December 2017
England Lewis Galbraith Rochdale Hornets 1 Year January 2018

Losses

Player Club Contract length Date
England Cain Southernwood Hunslet R.L.F.C. 1 Year October 2017[8]
England Jonny Campbell Time Out 1 Year February 2018

Honours[edit]

Major titles

Competition Wins Years won
RFL Championship / Super League 1 1923–24
Challenge Cup 3 1896–97, 1897–98, 1900–01

Other titles

Competition Wins Years won
RFL Yorkshire League 2 1898–99, 1923–24
RFL Yorkshire Cup 1 1912–13
RFU Yorkshire Cup 1 1885
Championship Cup 1 2010
Trans-Pennine Cup 1 1998

Coaching register[edit]

Coach Years
Richard Webster (aka London Dick) c. 1881–92
Joseph "Joe" Birch (trainer) c. 1893
Fred Bennett (trainer) c. 1895–97
Joseph "Joe" Wilson (trainer), Mark Shackleton (trainer) c. 1901
Ernest Gill (trainer) c. 1908
Arthur Garner (trainer) c. 1912
Albert Armitage August 1923–
Charlie Hollidge July 1927–July 1928
George Forber August 1928–
Jack Sheard April 1929–May 1929
W.H. Evans June 1929–April 1930
Albert Armitage July 1930–May 1931
Joe Lyman July 1931–November 1934
Charlie Glossop November 1934–February 1935
William R. 'Bill' Smith February 1935–July 1935
Charlie Pollard July 1935–March 1939
Jim Lyman July 1939–
William R. 'Bill' Smith August 1945–July 1947
Mick Exley July 1947–January 1948
Jim Brough January 1948–July 1948
William R. 'Bill' Smith July 1948–November 1949
Harry Royal November 1949–November 1950
Charles 'Charlie' Eaton December 1950–May 1952
Alex Fiddes July 1952–March 1954
Charles 'Charlie' Eaton March 1954–January 1955
Robert 'Bob' Robson January 1955–April 1955
Michael Condon April 1955–September 1955
Robert 'Bob' Robson September 1955–January 1956
Gordon Harrison February 1956–October 1956
Eric Batten October 1956–April 1958
Frank 'Shanks' Watson June 1958–June 1962
Robert 'Bob' Kelly July 1962–October 1962
Arthur Staniland October 1962–June 1966
Dave Valentine June 1966–December 1967
David 'Dave' Cox December 1967–April 1970
Mick Sullivan June 1970–October 1970
John Westbury November 1970–September 1971
David 'Dave' Cox September 1971–November 1972
Don Fox November 1972–October 1974
Alan Hepworth November 1974–April 1975
David 'Dave' Cox May 1975–June 1975
Trevor Walker June 1975–June 1977
Albert Fearnley June 1977–October 1977
David Stockwell October 1977–June 1979
Tommy Smales June 1979–October 1981
Trevor Lowe October 1981–May 1982
Terry Crook June 1982–November 1984
George Pieniazek November 1984–November 1985
Brian Lockwood November 1985–May 1987
Paul Daley July 1987–May 1990
Keith Rayne May 1990–April 1991
David Ward May 1991–October 1994
Jeff Grayshon MBE October 1994–July 1996
Mike Kuiti July 1996–September 1996
Peter Regan November 1996–September 1997
David Ward September 1997–June 2000
Jon Sharp June 2000–January 2001
David Ward January 2001–March 2001
Paul Storey March 2001–October 2003
Gary Thornton October 2003–April 2009
Karl Harrison April 2009–September 2011
John Kear September 2011–September 2016
Matt Diskin October 2016–present

Players earning international caps while at Batley[edit]

Other notable players[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "History". Batley Bulldogs. Retrieved 24 February 2017. 
  2. ^ "Operational Rules". RFL. Retrieved 10 March 2017. 
  3. ^ Delaney, Trevor (1991). The Grounds Of Rugby League. Keighley: Trevor R. Delaney. ISBN 0-9509-9822-2. 
  4. ^ http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/rugby-league/Keighley39s-Super-League-omission-a.991932.jp
  5. ^ "Diskin new coach 2017". Batley Bulldogs. 
  6. ^ "Campbell return delights Bulldogs". Batley and Birstall News. 28 September 2017. Retrieved 15 January 2018. 
  7. ^ "Giants half-back Izaac Farrell to spend 2018 at Batley". Huddersfield Daily Examiner. 9 November 2017. Retrieved 7 January 2018. 
  8. ^ "Hunslet RLFC: New signing Southernwood relishing fresh challenge at Hunslet". Yorkshire Evening Post. 6 October 2017. Retrieved 6 December 2017. 

External links[edit]