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The Batley Bulldogs are an English professional rugby league club in Batley, West Yorkshire, 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.
|Full name||Batley Bulldogs Rugby League Football Club|
The Gallant Youths
|Colours||Cerise, Gold and White|
|Challenge Cups||3 (1897, 1898, 1901)|
|Other top-tier honours||3|
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. 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.
After the 1890–91 season, Batley along with other Yorkshire Senior clubs Bradford, Brighouse, Dewsbury, Halifax, Huddersfield, Hull, Hunslet, Leeds, Liversedge, Manningham and Wakefield decided that they wanted their own county league starting in 1891 along the lines of a similar competition that had been played in Lancashire. The clubs wanted full control of the league but the Yorkshire Rugby Football Union would not sanction the competition as it meant giving up control of rugby football to the senior clubs.
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. 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 and 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
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.
Summer rugby era edit
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.
Batley finished the 2021 Championship season in 4th place on the table and qualified for the playoffs. The club would fall one match short of the Million Pound Game after losing 51–12 against Toulouse Olympique. In the 2022 Championship season, Batley reached the Million Pound Game for the first time but were defeated 44–12 by Leigh.
The club play at Mount Pleasant which currently has a capacity of 7,500. It has a seated main stand, a large covered terrace behind one goal where the changing facilities are located, a small covered seated stand running approximately halfway down one touchline, with open terracing behind the other goal and to the side of the main stand.
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/
2023 squad edit
|First team squad||Coaching staff|
Updated: 22 March 2021
2024 transfers edit
|Samy Kibula||Castleford Tigers||1 Year||October 2023|
|James Meadows||London Broncos||November 2023|
Players earning international caps while at Batley edit
Other notable players edit
- Wilf Auty
- Keegan Hirst
- F. T. Adams captain circa-1936
- Andrew Ballot (No. 13) circa-1990s
- Mark Barlow
- Trevor Barlow
- John Bell circa-1973
- Tommy "Dowdy" Brannan
- Tommy "Chick" Brannan
- Jack Briggs 1954–63
- David Brooke circa-1973
- Alex Brown
- Donald "Don" Burnell Yorkshire XIII 1947–48
- Graham Chalkley circa-1973
- Richard Colley
- Kevin Crouthers
- Wharton "Wattie" Davies 1896...1912
- Robin Dewhurst circa-1973
- Phil Doyle Yorkshire XIII 1969–70
- George Douglas, for Scotland (RU) while at Jed-Forest RFC (RU) 1921 1-cap (signed for Batley 1921–22)
- Eric Earnshaw
- Barry Eaton
- Danny Maun
- John Etty, for British Empire XIII while at Batley 1951 Wales XIII
- Jim Etty
- Bolu Fagborun
- Craig Farrell
- Dai Fitzgerald
- John Fox (Testimonial match 1979)
- Peter Fox
- Fred "Ted" Fozzard
- John Gallagher
- Jim Gath
- Ian Gelderd Stand-off
- Carl Gibson
- Harry Goodall
- John B "Jack" Goodall
- Jeff Grayshon
- Jonathan "Jon" Grayshon
- Ben Gronow
- Tommy Haslam 1888 British Isles tourist (RU)
- Samuel "Sam" Hargreaves Yorkshire XIII 1946–47
- Tom Hemingway
- Ernest "Ernie" Hepworth (Testimonial match 1978)
- David Heron
- Paul Hicks
- Philip "Phil" Holmes circa-1973
- John Jones circa-1980
- Arthur Keegan
- Robert Kelly
- Kevin King
- Dean Lawford
- Stephen "Steve" Lingard circa-1973
- Davide Longo
- George H. Main
- Francis Maloney
- Tommy Martyn
- Colin Maskill circa-1973
- Edward Melling circa-1920
- Luke Menzies
- James "Jim" Naylor Yorkshire XIII 1972–73
- Gareth Moore
- George Northern born circa-1927 Scrum-half and captain for Batley in 1954 and Doncaster from 1955 to 1963
- Joe Oakland
- Trevor Oldroyd circa-1973
- Lee Paterson
- Jackie Perry
- Roy Powell
- Richard Price circa-1998
- Sean Richardson
- William "Bill" Riches (Testimonial match 1952) Yorkshire 1946...52 (England v France 1946–47, "reserve to travel")
- Gus Risman
- Joe Robinson circa-1920
- Shad Royston
- Mark Scott (Testimonial match 1994)
- David "Dave" Secker circa-1973
- Malcolm Shuttleworth
- Herbert 'Dodger' Simms
- Roger Simpson
- Byron Smith
- Gilbert "Gil" Smith born circa-1925
- Andrew "Andy" Speak
- Timothy "Tim" Spears
- John Stainburn (Testimonial match 1993)
- George Standidge circa-1973
- Doug Stokes circa-1950s
- Paul Storey (Testimonial match 1988)
- Gary Thornton
- Glen Tomlinson
- Trevor 'Tank' Walker Left-Prop
- Jim Waltham
- Alan Watts circa-1973
- John Westbury (#13) circa-1950s
- Clifford "Cliff" Williams circa-1973
- Martin Whelan 1970s–1980s
Past First Team Coaches edit
|Richard Webster (aka London Dick)||c. 1881–92|
|Joseph "Joe" Birch||c. 1893|
|Fred Bennett||c. 1895–97|
|Joseph "Joe" Wilson||c. 1898–1901|
|Jack W. Sutcliffe||c. 1905|
|Ernest Gill||c. 1908|
|Arthur Garner||c. 1912|
|Jack W. Sutcliffe||c. 1913 – c. 1922|
|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 – September 2019|
|Craig Lingard||September 2019 – present|
Super League era edit
|Season||League||Play-offs||Challenge Cup||Other competitions||Name||Tries||Name||Points|
|Division||P||W||D||L||F||A||Pts||Pos||Top try scorer||Top point scorer|
|1998||Division Two||20||13||0||7||437||354||26||3rd||R4||Trans-Pennine Cup||W|
|1999||Northern Ford Premiership||28||9||3||16||546||553||21||12th||R4|
|2000||Northern Ford Premiership||28||6||0||22||482||759||12||16th||R3|
|2001||Northern Ford Premiership||28||13||0||15||452||618||26||13th||R4|
|2002||Northern Ford Premiership||27||16||1||10||658||666||33||7th||Lost in Final||R4|
|2003||National League One||18||5||1||12||366||543||11||9th||R5|
|2004||National League One||18||8||0||10||503||534||16||7th||R5|
|2005||National League One||18||5||0||13||417||574||10||8th||R4|
|2006||National League One||18||8||0||10||393||467||16||7th||Lost in Preliminary Final||R4|
|2007||National League One||18||5||1||12||372||645||19||8th||R4|
|2008||National League One||18||5||0||13||387||538||23||9th||R4|
|2011||Championship||20||12||0||8||498||406||41||3rd||Lost in Elimination Playoffs||R4|
|2012||Championship||18||11||0||7||551||326||40||5th||Lost in Elimination Playoffs||R5|
|2013||Championship||26||16||1||9||670||394||57||5th||Lost in Semi Final||R4|
|2017||Championship||23||11||0||12||549||663||22||6th||Lost in Shield Semi Final||R5|
|2021||Championship||21||13||0||8||561||411||26||4th||Lost in Semi Final||R4[b]||1895 Cup||R2|
|2022||Championship||27||17||2||8||738||551||36||5th||Lost in Million Pound Game||R5|
|RFL Championship / Super League||1||1923–24|
|Challenge Cup||3||1896–97, 1897–98, 1900–01|
|RFL Yorkshire League||2||1898–99, 1923–24|
|RFL Yorkshire Cup||1||1912–13|
|RFU Yorkshire Cup||1||1885|
See also edit
- "History". Batley Bulldogs. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
- "Operational Rules". RFL. Archived from the original on 8 October 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
- Delaney, Trevor (1991). The Grounds of Rugby League. Keighley: Trevor R. Delaney. ISBN 0-9509-9822-2.
- "Keighley's Super League omission a real injustice". The Yorkshire Post. 7 April 2005. Archived from the original on 13 March 2017.
- "Diskin new coach 2017". Batley Bulldogs. Archived from the original on 4 November 2016. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
- "Toulouse Olympique XIII 51 Batley Bulldogs 12: Spirited Batley eventually blown away in play-off semi-final". www.yorkshirepost.co.uk.
- "Leigh 44–12 Batley: Centurions seal Super League return with deserved win in Championship Grand Final". www.skysports.com. Retrieved 7 October 2022.
- "Castleford Tigers make another new signing for 2024: 'He could be a really good pick up for us'". Love Rugby League. 19 October 2023. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
- "London Broncos' signing spree continues with third of the day as Championship playmaker returns to the capital". Love Rugby League. 10 November 2023. Retrieved 20 November 2023.