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Batley 15, Whitehaven 6
THE battle for top nine places in the Northern Ford Premiership is hotting-up with Whitehaven now just inside the cut-off point.
It could now be that the three Cumbrian clubs are left to fight-out for the last two qualification places, which adds even more significance to next week's clash at the Recreation Ground.
Whitehaven coach Paul Cullen knows his team need to win the match with Barrow after two away defeats against top six opposotion.
But Cullen will be looking for a more positive approach from his players, whom he felt let themselves down against Batley.
"The most disappointing thing from my point of view was the lack of ambition from the Whitehaven players. To them it was just another game of rugby league in Yorkshire don a Sunday.
"We prepared well, we travelled well an we started well but then after going in front we just put the lights out and went home.
"There were ample opportunities for us to increase that lead but we didn't take them. In the second half Batley didn't produce any rocket-science - they just burst through tackles going forward and scored three tries. They weren't scored from complex moves.
"It was a very poor result from our point of view and it had nothing to do with the weather, the pitch or the referee. The defeat was all down to the lack of ambition by the players," said Cullen.
Batley have improved significantly as the season has progressed and on Sunday they staged a three-try second-half revival to overhaul Whitehaven and give a big boost to their own top nine ambitions.
The Cumbrians had been given the perfect start when they took the lead as early as the second minute when a chip through from Leroy Joe was snapped up by Aaron Lester to score between the sticks and give Steve Kirkbride an easy conversion.
Both sides struggled to control the greasy ball, caused by a torrential downpour, but after Paul Harrison levelled the scores the Bulldogs produced two tries in three minutes - a dazzling 60-metre affair from Danny Maun and a gritty break by Ryan Horsley - to settle the issue.