JON Sharp hailed the “toughness” Featherstone Rovers showed in Sunday’s 32-6 win at Batley Bulldogs.
Playing up the Mount Pleasant slope in the first half, Rovers built a 14-0 interval lead against the run of play and they held off a brief Batley fightback after the break to secure a third straight win in the Kingstone Press Championship.
It was an important victory against a side expected to be among Rovers’ main rivals for a top-four spot and Sharp said: “When you come to Batley you’ve got to be really tough.
“They are a big side and so are we and I thought both teams gave it to one another.
“It’s a derby game and Batley finished third last year and we were fourth so we knew we had to be aggressive.
“We knew it would be really physical and we’d have to be at our best, have a good attitude in defence and be patient when we had the ball.
“I thought we did that. They had lots of ball on our goalline early on there were five penalties to zero against us, which I wasn’t too happy about, but we dealt with it.
“People will talk about the tries we scored and how well we played, but I thought that first quarter was important.
“We arrived with a determination and when we were under the pump we had a determination not to be broken.
“We had a man in the sin-bin and we still looked composed and dogged as well. I was delighted with that.”
Batley have lost two of their opening three games and coach Matt Diskin was “massively disappointed” with their performance.
He said: “I thought Featherstone were better in every area.
“We had a lot of ball early on in the first half and we were blunt really, we were really lateral.
“We knew where Featherstone were weak at certain points, but I don’t think we got to them once in that first 20 minutes.
“We needed to be more direct. When you are lateral like we were it is easy to defend against and Featherstone kept us out comfortably because we didn’t challenge them with the ball.”