Betfred Championship R4: Batley vs Sheffield Preview
Six months on from when it was originally scheduled, Sheffield Eagles will travel to Batley Bulldogs’ Fox’s Biscuits Stadium for a Wednesday night clash.
The Eagles have won their last two games and will be confident of giving Batley a good run for their money, despite losing to them last month at the Olympic Legacy Park.
Meanwhile, Craig Lingard’s Bulldogs will be full of beans after demolishing Dewsbury Rams in front of a live TV audience at the Summer Bash on Saturday.
A tantalising game in prospect. Let’s get into it..
Last Time Out
Batley had gone 6-0 down against a Dewsbury side that looked fired up as they aimed for just their third victory of the year.
Any Bulldogs fans that may have been worried shouldn’t have feared. 60 points without reply followed as Batley bounced back from a defeat to Widnes in clinical fashion.
Johnny Campbell notched four first half scores to set a new Summer Bash record for tries scored in a match. Luke Hooley and Tom Gilmore led the team around with ease while the forwards made yards aplenty, with Dewsbury unable to lay a finger on their opponents.
Sheffield also got a Summer Bash win under their belt, against London Broncos. The Eagles had lost to London at the start of the month, throwing away a comfortable half-time lead in Ebbsfleet, and they were certainly motivated to right the wrongs of that afternoon.
Josh Guzdek and Kris Welham both registered braces for the Eagles, who gave their green shirt a debut in front of the Headingley crowd.
Blake Broadbent, Jason Bass and Ben Jones-Bishop also scored tries for Sheffield as they backed up a comfortable win over Workington Town the week prior.
Key Battle - Josh Hodson | Josh Guzdek
A battle of the Josh’s is what we’ll look at ahead of tomorrow’s encounter at Mount Pleasant.
In the reverse fixture, Josh Hodson had a solid game in defence while his wingman Dale Morton went over for two tries.
It has been a solid debut year for Hodson after making the move to West Yorkshire from London Broncos.
Another promising talent out of the Broncos Academy system, Batley will be wanting to keep a hold of the centre as he progresses.
The Eagles’ Josh, ‘Mr Cool’ as Mark Aston named him in his latest post-match interview, has been having a successful stint at centre and goal-kicking in the absence of Izaac Farrell.
The ex-Dewsbury man became a fan favourite at full-back but his defensive stability and smart running game is a perfect fit for the centre position.
Being guided by the likes of fellow player Kris Welham and Eagles Hall of Famer Keith Senior, Guzdek will continue to grow in the role. He’ll have a tough assignment on Wednesday night but it’s one he will be relishing.
By Dan Fowler, graphic by Alex Coleman