Featherstone Rovers are our visitors this Sunday, as we open our 2020 Betfred Championship campaign.
in what is sure to be a thrilling encounter for Craig Lingard's first competetive fixture as Head Coach.
At last the season starts and it seems a long time since our last game against Barrow which finished the season off in a disappointing way. The first game means no team has suffered a loss as yet and so has a measure of optimism. Undoubtedly Featherstone go into this game as clear favourites as they clearly fancy their chances of certainly being a top 5 Club so we have a challenge on. Last season we lost our first game against Barrow who clearly were later relegated so we got off to a bad start which I believe had a significant impact on our season as we were favourites that day. A length of the field interception try and a slip by Wayne Reittie were the deciding factors on the day so the difference between success and failure was marginal. Then in 2016 after Leigh were hoping to go undefeated that season we beat them in the very first game which defined our season as we achieved a Middle 8’s place. So it is clearly important to get off to a good start. May the best team win.
You may notice today that each touchline has been moved in by about one metre. This is not our choice but is an Rfl directive to ensure there is a clear 3 metres all around the pitch before any obstacle. It has also involved moving the deadball line in by 700 cm and so reducing the tryline. The only obstacles that have made this necessary are the padded dugout area and the bottom floodlight pylon on left looking down the hill. So a very small area. Safety is important for players but we have previously had a dispensation particularly for dugouts and we have never had a problem. So be it but we are monitoring that ALL Clubs are told to take identical actions to ensure we are ALL treated the same. So the action we have taken is certainly not in anyway to seek to gain any advantage.
Off the field we have been unbelievably busy trying to sort numerous issues in particular to improve our stadium and facilities most of which people will not even notice as many are minor improvements and maintenance to ensure going forward we are as good as we can be. We are presently continuing the work with a plan to improve changing room showers and existing toilet facilities. In addition workers began work under the K2 Stand this week and will continue over the next month to eventually create as soon as possible new toilets and extend our players gym facility. Clearly this will improve facilities for supporters, sponsors and players which is our aim and by the end of the season we will have developed our stadium as much as we can apart from major works at major costs. So 2020 is a significant season to give us a platform going forward so that then we will be in a position to spend more of our monies for on field improvement or if monies decrease then we are in a better financial position going forward.
As for playing expenditure this year we have budgeted to get at least another two players as we will certainly have challenges if we get injuries. However the problem is not that we cannot afford players but that we cannot get players . We have not been told by any player they are not signing because we are not paying enough money or that they do not want to come to us but rather the issue is shortage of quality players. The Dual Reg deal falling through did not help as that would have been a solution. Super League running a Reserve competition did not help as that has certainly contributed to a shortage of players. So we will keep on the lookout for players and see what happens over the next month. Please do not rely on Nosey Parker in League Weekly for player news because as far as Batley is concerned he either just makes it up or twists the truth. He never checks out any story about anything. If he rang me though I would tell him absolutely nothing so he would be wasting his time which maybe why he makes it up anyway.
You will notice that the floodlight and dugout pads have been renewed thanks to sponsorship from J B Pallets. That is ex player and coach Joe Berry. It was his idea to have some pads Pink with Beverley’s initials BN on them which I find moving and a brilliant tribute to her and our Pink Weekend. I clearly am very grateful to Joe who has been himself a great servant of our sport and a special member of our Bulldog family.
We also have Gavin and Matt from GME Painting as a new box sponsor for the season and Peter Kirby of Gym Doctor as a new Entrance sponsor. We are also delighted to welcome back all our sponsors from last year who are all playing their part in taking the Club forward. The work we have done in the off season has been a large part thanks to our group of volunteers who again do an absolutely tremendous job.
So let’s hope we continue to all pull in the same direction to take this Club forward and that 2020 is better than 2019 in all ways. Enjoy the game and let’s see how we start.
PS. We are continuing with the WAR CHEST this year as it is a vital part of running this Club. Existing members are in the process of being contacted to renew and anyone interested in being a new member let me know.
Match photos courtesy and Copyright of Neville Wright & Dan Winner.
Not for reproduction without permission.
From the history books....Courtesy of Terry Swift.
Trevor Briggs --the scorer of the winning try v. Fulham in the 1980 Centenary match---- slips through the defence wall --Dec,79
Alan Watts distributes the ball to exit the danger zone (John Player Trophy Round One October 1981)
Martin Whelan is brought down iiches from the line - Oct 1981
Featherstone on the attack facing Shaw and Tingle (Oct.81)
Elusive hooker Brendan Cummins leads the chase to the kick-through to the line (Oct.81)
The next Reminiscence & Memories café will be held on the 28th February at the Fox’s biscuits stadium, pop along for a cuppa & a biscuit and talk about all things Batley, from history to rugby! Drop in to this free session between 10am to 11.30am.
Job, Volunteering and training fair is coming to Batley Bulldogs on Friday the 14th February 11am until 2pm, if you’re looking for a new opportunity in 2020 pop in and have a chat with one of these organisations!
KAL (Kirklees Active Leisure)
GMB Lifelong Learning
Proper Job Theatre Company
St Anne’s Community Service
More in Common
Community Learning Works
Time for Change
The Royal Voluntary Service
Community Learning Works
Works Better in Kirklees
HEAD COACH: CRAIG LINGARD