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Bulldogs maul the Brothers as Navy Rugby League cup dream ends

2 March 2022
Despite a heroic performance the RN Rugby League team bowed out in the fourth round of the Challenge Cup after an historic run.

Facing championship team Batley Bulldogs – one level below the Super League – the Brothers went down 66-6 to the professional XIII on their home turf.
The Yorkshiremen featured in last season’s promotion eliminator – the so-called million-pound game – to give an idea of their pedigree.

That puts an otherwise heavy defeat into perspective and RNRL players and coaching staff alike can be mightily proud of this season’s achievement in reaching this far in the competition – Rugby League’s FA Cup.

RNRL head coach Steve Lockton had his players at Burnaby Road for a couple of days training before moving up to West Yorkshire to prepare.

A very respectable crowd of almost 1,300 included a significant and very vocal RN Barmy Army consisting of families, friends, ex-players and veterans.

With the game under way for only a couple of minutes the home side posted their first score: winger Jonny Campbell launched himself at the try line narrowly avoiding his opposite number, Mike Haldenby, to touch down while still in the air – his 100th try for the club.

Unfortunately for the Brothers this was the story of the game: the RNRL forwards especially stood their ground and competed equally in midfield, but the speed of the Bulldogs’ playing the ball and their movement around the ruck, led by scrumhalf Tom Gilmore, was the difference between the two sides.

The Brothers held the Bulldogs to 14 points going into the second quarter of the match, but a further four tries before the break with additional conversions saw the home side well ahead at the break.

Despite playing up the slope in the second half the Brothers gave it a real go with more mighty hits from the pack while the backs were a threat to the Bulldogs with some clever kicking from Bamford and Callum Cone turning the home side’s defence.

What a journey…. People don’t see the sacrifices everyone makes to get in the position we did – our families, loved ones and children all miss out so we can do what we love and our achievements wouldn’t have been possible without their support.

Lockton

Finally, the score came for RNRL: another break on the Brothers’ left brought them to the half way line and following a quick play the ball RNRL spread the ball across the field and towards the home goal line. James Teixeira managed to take the ball and broke the Bulldogs’ line to touch down.

This score brought the crowd to its feet and the Barmy Army went wild as the score was right in front of them! After starting the move on the opposite side of the field Darren Bamford finished the move with a terrific conversion to give the Brothers their final score of the game at 54-6.

With the game being televised on the BBC the scoring move was there for all to see and was talked home by former GB RL coach and player Brian Noble along with commentator Sharon Shortle.

Another couple of tries saw the Bulldogs home by 66-6 and a place in the fifth round draw with Super League giants such as Wigan, St Helens and Leeds.

“What a journey…. People don’t see the sacrifices everyone makes to get in the position we did – our families, loved ones and children all miss out so we can do what we love and our achievements wouldn’t have been possible without their support,” said a proud Lockton after the match.

The game was played in a great spirit and was made even more special by the crowd who gave RNRL a great ovation as they left the field. RNRL would like to express our thanks to the Batley club for their hospitality before, during and especially after the match – it’s what this sport is all about.
 
Footage of the match is available on the BBC iPlayer at https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/l0056412/challenge-cup-batley-bulldogs-v-royal-navy
 
 
And you can watch the RN try at https://www.facebook.com/thechallengecup/videos/1148156369092350

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