Batley determined to go all the way

Batley BulldogsPaul Handforth is determined to go all the way in the Northern Rail Cup to make up for the disappointment of losing the 2005 final with Castleford Tigers.

The Bulldogs face Sheffield Eagles in the quarter-final of the Northern Rail Cup on Sunday at Mount Pleasant where Handforth hopes to erase memories of that defeat five years ago by lifting the trophy with Batley.

Handforth said: “That’s the aim; I don’t remember much about the 2005 final. I know it was a good day though – apart from the result.

“The Northern Rail Cup is a fantastic competition and it’s another bit of silverware for the teams outside of Super League.”

“The gulf between part-time and full-time players is now so big that this competition means an awful lot to the clubs in the Co-operative Championships.”

The 28-year-old Ireland international believes Batley are hitting form at exactly the right time as their crunch clash with Sheffield approaches.

“On our day we know that we can give any team in the competition a game and beat them. It’s just a matter of us all turning up on the day, concentrating on the job for 80 minutes and pulling in the same direction,” said the former Wakefield and Castleford half-back.

The Bulldogs will be looking to bounce back from their defeat to the Eagles in May after surrendering a 12-0 half-time lead and Handforth is looking for a clinical performance this time around.

“We were 12-0 up at half time,” remembers Handforth. “Rather than them winning the game, we felt as though we’d lost.

“They’re a strong side and they’ve got a lot of good players but we were disappointed not to finish them off. We’ll be hoping to make sure we do the job properly this time around.

“We’ve taken some confidence from that game against Sheffield because we know we were in a position to beat them.

“Hopefully we can carry on building on some momentum and getting some more wins under our belt.”

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