Home Sports Batley bid to put on a good show and make Mount Pleasant painful for Castleford

Batley bid to put on a good show and make Mount Pleasant painful for Castleford

0
Batley bid to put on a good show and make Mount Pleasant painful for Castleford

With its glittering history of welcoming A-list luminaries like Louis Armstrong and Tina Turner to its world-famous Variety Club, Batley could be forgiven for failing to string up the bunting when Super League strugglers Castleford roll into town on Saturday.

In fact, the perennially over-achieving Championship club are relishing the prospect of a Betfred Challenge Cup sixth round clash against a side whose head coach comfortably eclipses all those entertainment titans in the West Yorkshire town’s affections.

Craig Lingard’s career as first a player then head coach of the Bulldogs left such an impression that he has a section of terracing named after him at the club’s famously wonky Mount Pleasant stadium, and his departure for Cas last year was never going to threaten those bonds.

The historic knockout competition, of which Batley were the first winners in 1897, gifted Lingard an immediate return to the club whom he helped reach an improbable Championship Grand Final in 2022, as well as their first ever trip to Wembley in the 1895 Cup last year.

Small wonder his successor as head coach, Mark Moxon, who had previously served as an assistant for 12 years including the last three under Lingard, sees no reason to rip up the well-established blueprint that has served the unassuming club so well.

“We don’t really evolve at Batley,” Moxon told the PA news agency. “It’s about continuation, no shadow of a doubt. We live within our means year after year, and we continue to compete in a division in which the other teams have all historically spent much more money than we have.

We don’t really evolve at Batley. It’s about continuation, no shadow of a doubt. We live within our means year after year, and we continue to compete in a division in which the other teams have all historically spent much more money than we have.

Batley head coach Mark Moxon

“Craig is a bit of a club legend, and he had great success here that led him to Super League. I learned a lot from him as I continued my development. It’s important to maintain the culture that Craig was a part of. It’s all about working hard and togetherness, and I guess that’s the key to our success.”

Having pushed Featherstone close in their first game of the new Championship season on Sunday, Batley have every right to fancy their chances against a Castleford side who have made a dismal start to their new Super League campaign, failing to pick up a point from their first five games.

And while Lingard will draw on his experience to equip his players to cope with Mount Pleasant’s precipitous pitch, Moxon believes it could still prove a crucial factor in the underdogs holding their own against their top-level opponents.

“Craig might know all about the pitch but he’s not playing,” added Moxon. “There will be a few lads amongst them who have not played at Batley before. We are used to teams coming here and coming out of the tunnel and they can’t believe the steepness of the hill.

“Obviously we’re both very aware of each other’s game-plan. They’re going to be stronger and fitter than us, but the longer we are able to compete they might get nervous. It’s the kind of tie that you relish, and magic things can happen in sport.”

A full-time firefighter at Leeds-Bradford airport, Moxon has no immediate ambition to follow Lingard into the elite, and is instead content to work to create new memories at a club and town where Hollywood stars and Hollywood-style scripts are intertwined.

“I’ve got a job that I like and it’s secure, and the jump to go full-time is a big step, especially in professional sport where it can be quite fickle,” added Moxon.

“I love it here at Batley. It’s been a long time since we got anywhere near to winning the Challenge Cup, and the next best thing is to draw a Super League team at home. It should be a great occasion.”

#Batley #bid #put #good #show #Mount #Pleasant #painful #Castleford

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here