Harrison wants Batley support

Karl Harrison is inviting Rugby League fans to re-live their school days on Saturday – with a game of ‘British Bulldog.’

Harrison’s Batley Bulldogs team host Engage Super League side Catalans Dragons in a Carnegie Challenge Cup quarter-final at Mount Pleasant and the former Great Britain prop is hoping for a show of patriotism from neutrals.

“We’re the underdogs in the last eight and are up against the only French team left in the competition. It would be nice if as many people as possible turned out to get behind us,” said Harrison.

“There’s been quite a bit of interest locally but it would be great to see the fans of clubs who aren’t involved in the Cup this weekend show their support.”

All Engage Super League and Co-operative Championship club season ticket holders can gain entry to the Bulldogs-Dragons quarter-final for less than a fiver and Batley are offering discounted bar prices to all fans.

“This is our biggest match for many, many years and is one we’re determined to do well in,” said Harrison.

“It’s going to be a huge challenge to beat Super League opposition, they’re all full time athletes and we train twice a week but that doesn’t mean we won’t be ready for the occasion.

“The average age of this team is just 21 and most of them live within five miles of the ground.

“They don’t know what fear is but they do know all about the history of the Carnegie Challenge Cup and what winning this match would mean to Batley.”

Batley go into the tie in confident mood following a rousing 35-16 victory Widnes Vikings on Sunday that lifted them to within touching distance of a Co-operative Championship play-off place.

“We’ve been playing well for four or five weeks. The match at Widnes was our fourth in 12 days so it’s good to have the luxury of a six-day turnaround,” added Harrison.

“We have done our homework on Catalans and I’m sure they’ll have done their research on us, too. The stakes are massive for both clubs because there’s a lucrative semi-final awaiting the winner.

“We know we’re under no pressure, other than the pressure we put on ourselves. That’s not the same for them because they won’t be looking forward to coming to somewhere unfamiliar like Mount Pleasant and our famous sloping pitch.

“I suppose you could class this Cup tie as a ‘non-level playing field’! I’m looking forward to it, we all are.

“No-one is getting carried away with thoughts of Wembley, though, but it’s 99 years since Batley were last in a Challenge Cup semi-final and it’s long overdue.”

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