it’s with a sense of deja-vu that we head for Batley’s Mount (un)Pleasant for part two of this back-to-back fixture ‘double-header’: the ‘Dogs having the advantage after last week’s win over a busted Hornets who tried hard but eventually buckled under the strain of a mounting injury list.
A Hornets team pulled out of shape, backfilling with willing bodies, was the perfect foil for Batley’s industrial ‘play-by-process’ style. The game was a series of object lessons in exploiting weaknesses: Force errors, build pressure, exploit uncertainty, run big guys at small guys, run quick guys at tired defenders, suck ‘em in, switch it out. Indeed, Batley played their way through the procedure and die-cut themselves a comfortable win.
Whilst it might be a style untroubled by aesthetics, it is ruthlessly effective So how do Hornets chuck a spanner into the ‘Dogs… er… cogs?
Whilst it was frustrating, last year’s trip to the Mount gives us a big pointer. As Batley ground through the gears, Hornets played a high-tempo, expansive game that - courtesy of two preposterously poor refereeing decisions - very nearly paid off. Only when Hornets got sucked into the home side’s ‘process’ did Batley make progress.
In his video preview, Alan Kilshaw did confirm the return of Dave Allen, Earl Hurst and Richard Lepori to the squad for Sunday, so there’ll be an uplift in experience in key positions as Hornets look to gain some momentum ahead of next week’s trip to Blackpool.
Indeed, we are told that the club still has some tickets remaining for the Blackpool Bash, so why not come and join us for a great day out.
Meantime, see you Sunday.