Batley Bulldogs


Batley Bulldogs

Infobox_esl_club | clubname = Batley Bulldogs


fullname = "Batley Bulldogs Rugby League Football Club"
emblem = Bulldog
colours = White, burgundy and gold
founded = 1880
sport = Rugby league
league = National League One
ground = Mount Pleasant
web = [http://batleybulldogs.co.uk www.batleybulldogs.co.uk]

Batley Bulldogs are a British rugby league club, from Batley in West Yorkshire. They currently play in League One of the Rugby League National Leagues. Batley is also one of the original twenty-two rugby clubs that formed the Northern Rugby Football Union in 1895, making them one of the world's first rugby league teams.

History

Early years

Batley are one of the oldest clubs still in existence, they were originally formed as Batley Football Club way back in 1880 as a result of various local sports clubs joining forces. Their first game was against Bradford Zingari.

They won the Yorkshire Challenge Cup five years later.

Batley were one of the origianl twenty-one clubs that met at the George Hotel in Huddersfield on 29 August 1895 and formed the Northern Rugby Union.

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. Batley retained the trophy by beating Bradford on the corresponding weekend the following year. They won it again in 1900-01.

Wharton 'Wattie' Davies, who set club records for most appearance, goals, tries and points between 1907-1912.

Batley won the Yorkshire in 1912-13, were Yorkshire League winners in 1898-99 and 1923-24 and were crowned champions for the only time that same season.

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

Post World War Two

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

Silverware has been hard to come by in the latter years, only a brief spell in the 1990s saw any form of success over the last 70 years, with Batley winning the Trans-Pennine Cup in 1998.

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 twentieth 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 this memorable game 11-8 and their chance disappeared.

In the following years Batley went through a bad patch being relegated into the newly formed Third Division and getting into financial difficulty. However the club is now on a sound financial footing and with the return of David Ward to the staff the club is going through a phase of regenerating itself including a massive shake up in the playing staff with some 17 new faces arriving at the club close season, including the return of Aussie scrum half Glen Tomlinson who was the linchpin in the success the club had in the 1990s.

Batley added 'Bulldogs' to their name for the 1995/6 season. The newly named Batley Bulldogs finished 1996 at the foot of Division One.

In 2003, Barry Eaton broke the world record for consecutive goals 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 (Head Coach) and Paul Harrison.

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

2006 saw the Bulldogs 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 the Bulldogs 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 Centurions' own hopes of promotion and ultimately earn Thornton the honour of National League coach of the year. The Bulldogs 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.

Honours

* Championship 1923-24
* Challenge Cup : 1896-97, 1897-98, 1900-1901 "(3 times)"
* Yorkshire Cup: 1884-851, 1912-1913
* Yorkshire League: 1898-99, 1923-24 "(2 times)"
* Trans-Pennine Cup: 1998In 2003 Barry Eaton broke the world record for consecutive goals kicks. Although Eaton left the club last year to join Keighley Cougars, his record of 38 looks as if it may stand for some time to come.

2008 Squad

Rugby league squad player|no=13|nat=England|pos=LK|name=Craig Farrell

(C)

External links

* [http://www.batleybulldogs.co.uk Batley Website]
* [http://www.yorkshirerugbyleague.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=2302&ArticleID=1089339 Bulldogs: history and facts]
* [http://forums.rlfans.com/viewforum.php?f=45 Batley Bulldogs forum on rlfans.com]
* [http://www.nationalleague.co.uk/ National League website]
* [http://www.rugbyleague.org/index.php?showforum=7/ Official Batley Bulldogs Fans Forums]


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