Cup battle

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BATLEY Bulldogs captain Paul Handforth is bracing himself for battle as the Northern Rail Cup holders prepare to begin their defence of the prized trophy against Leigh Centurions on Sunday.

Victory in the 2010 Northern Rail Cup final at Blackpool earned Batley their first silverware in 86 years and former Dons half-back Handforth knows that the tag of ‘defending champions’ will place extra pressure and expectation on the Bulldogs to repeat last year’s performances in 2011.