Batley Bulldogs
Mount Pleasant

Ground No. 15
Visited - Sunday 24th May 2009
Result - Batley Bulldogs 48-24 Whitehaven
Competition - The Co-operative Championship
Attendance - 627

One of the original 22 breakaway clubs who formed the Northern Union, Batley are a historic club, although one whose origins come from a rather unusual start. In 1880, Batley cricket club held a competition to form a new Rugby side with the prize being an invitation to join them at their Mount Pleasant ground. Batley Athletic won a controversial match against Batley Mountaineers, who also claimed victory after the legality of a try was questioned, but despite calls for a re-match, the cricket side chose Athletic, forming Batley Cricket and Athletic Football Club. The club had a fearsome reputation in the early years, dominating the Yorkshire game and even winning the first two Challenge Cup Finals in 1897 and 98, but success has eluded them in recent times, and they now find themselves mainstays of the games second tier.

Their Mount pleasant ground dates back to the 1860’s, with the cricket pitch still adjacent today. The rugby ground has been built up extensively in recent years, and is now arguably one of the best grounds outside Super League, certainly of the traditional venues left. I’d wanted to come for a while, very nearly making it last season, so I was determined to finally make the trip, circling the game against Whitehaven to go to.

Setting off early, then the journey north went well, albeit with the trains pretty busy thanks to the Bank Holiday weekend. After changing in Leeds, then I arrived in the town and made my way to the ground. As the name suggests, it sits atop a hill that overlooks the town with the cricket ground on the approach road before you reach the rugby ground itself. From the outside, it looks quite impressive, with the modern stands being offset by the yellow, course stone perimeter wall so typical of buildings in West Yorkshire. After going in, then the feel of the place continues. Along the near side sits the Prime Time Recruitment Stand, the newest addition to the ground, it’s an all-seated stand that runs half the length of the pitch, whilst the former terrace that used to sit here has been truncated and carries on from the halfway line to the far end, closed to spectators now. At the ‘nine ole’ End there is more modern terracing, small, but running around the corner to the Ron Earnshaw Terrace, which sits the other side of the Glen Tomlinson Stand. This is the main stand at the ground, built in 1989, it sits on the halfway line and again is all-seater, whilst more uncovered terracing (The Roy Powell Terrace) runs up to the near end where a modern covered terrace sits behind the sticks, with corporate boxes in the rear. The pitch is notable for sloping some 6 foot from end to end, and would certainly seem to have an effect on the game later on.

Having had a poor start to the season, Batley sitting bottom having lost seven of the first eight league games, so Whitehaven were favourites for the win, but playing downhill, the hosts got off to a perfect start when they took the lead through Jermaine McGilvary, with Paul Mennell converting a difficult kick from right on the touchline. Craig Potter added a second, before the impressive McGilvary scored a great try on 23 minutes when he raced clear from near his own line all the way down the pitch to go over, despite looking to have been caught by one of Whitehaven’s players as he closed in. The Cumbrians were being annihilated, and two minutes later Kevin Crouthers finished off a good move before McGilvary broke through the lines to grab his hat-trick, with Paul Mennell adding the two to make it 30-0 on 30 minutes. The point-a-minute ratio couldn’t last though, not on a day where the soaring heat defied Batley’s high tempo game, and it was the visitors who struck next, Ade Adebisi collecting a high ball in the corner to give a bit more credibility to the score at the break. 

In the second half, whether it really was the slope that made a difference, or the visitors need to fight back, Whitehaven came out a different side, and it took them just 2 minutes to score, albeit rather fortuitously. On the last tackle Greg McNally had kicked the ball only to see it bounce back off the posts straight into the hands of Karl Edmondson who only had to step over the line to touch down, McNally adding the two. If that could have knocked Batley’s confidence, then they didn’t show it, and just two minutes later McGilvary was racing clear again to grab his fourth of the day. ‘haven replied through Andy Gorski and Carl Rudd either side of a try from Jon Simpson, but the day was rounded off in style by Jermaine McGilvary who equalled a club record by scoring his fifth of the day right on 80 minutes, converting it himself to make the final score 48-24. 

After leaving, I made my way back, just catching a train, and getting home glad to have come. Overall it had been a good day out, and a great example of what Rugby League is all about. The club has a real family feel to it, and with beautiful weather, a highly entertaining game and a great ground then it had turned into a good trip. Apparently there are plans to build a new stand at the far end, which if they go ahead will really confirm it as one of the better grounds outside Super League.

On a final note, for the statto’s out there, this was a bit of a milestone for me, not counting grounds like the JJB twice, then this was the 200th ground I’ve seen either a Football or Rugby League game at. Here’s to the next 200! 

Welcome to Mount Pleasant

Outside the Ground


Rear of the Glen Tomlinson Stand/Roy Powell Terrace

Rear of the Glen Tomlinson Stand/Ron Earnshaw Terrace

Rear of the Nine Ole End

The Nine Ole End

The East Terrace/Prime Time Recruitment Stand

The Glen Tomlinson Stand

The Near End

The Prime Time Recruitment Stand

The Club Shop

The Nine Ole End

The Glen Tomlinson Stand

The Second Half Kicks Off

Mount Pleasant Panoramic 1

Mount Pleasant Panoramic 2

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