Rugby League


14 Jun 2024

Championship Chats: Ben White

Championship Chats: Ben White

Hear from Batley's Ben White as he talks through the 2024 season and his Rugby League journey...


Ben White has found a home at Batley Bulldogs in the Betfred Championship.

The 29-year-old half-back has had a “well-travelled” Rugby League career to date, but finds himself settled in West Yorkshire at Mount Pleasant and is hoping one day he can win some form of silverware with the club.

Eleven games in and the Bulldogs currently find themselves occupying ninth place in the league table. Batley agonisingly missed out on a Play-Off place last season on points difference, and with 2024 proving to be one of the most competitive seasons yet in the second tier, it’s set to be an epic race to the top six.

It’s been an up and down season for Batley so far, but having recently resurged in Rounds 9 and 10, they managed to pull off emphatic back-to-back home wins over both Championship heavyweights Bradford and Sheffield.


Togetherness Batley


“It’s been a little bit stop and start,” White admitted. “We started off great with the cup games – we beat Featherstone and Widnes and then we progressed in those competitions a little bit.

“But come the start of the actual league season and we've fallen short in a few of the games. We've started to pick up a few wins now though, so hopefully we can kick on from there.

“We’ll always rock up to a game thinking that we can be in it and win it - as long as we stay around performance wise. On our day, we like to think we can beat most teams.

“We’ve beaten two good teams in Bradford and Sheffield but then if we go on to lose a couple of other games from now, then those wins won’t matter.”

The weekly rounds are fast approaching - with Round 11 of the competition on the horizon this weekend.

And White is set to his face one of his former sides, Swinton Lions, who currently sit above Batley in the table but are level on league points.

Looking ahead to Sunday's trip to Heywood Road and the toughness of the Championship competition overall, White gave his thoughts:

“I’m expecting them [Swinton] to throw the ball around a bit – they’ve become renowned for that over the past few years – even going back to when I was there.

“They’ve been really competitive this year and they’ve picked up quite a few good wins. We need to be switched on with it, just like we need to be in any game of the Championship this year as it’s that competitive.

“I think the main aim for most Championship clubs this year is to reach the Play-Offs. Across the board there’s some really good teams and it’s probably been one of the most competitive seasons ever this season.

“There’s a bit of a gridlock at the moment with about ten teams trying to fit into the top six – it’s a little bit difficult at the minute.

“Any team can beat any team looking across the board, and that has happened already this year. There’s a lot of players we’ve had to do a lot of work and preview on – it’s a really strong competition.”


Ben White Batley


For Ben White, his time at Batley has become one of his longest stints at a club in his playing career.

From the community feel to the people, to the place and its traditions, there are plenty of reasons why Batley feels like home to him:

“It’s just the atmosphere – it’s a good playing group, coaches, staff, and the fans, and it all runs through. This sounds stereotypical but it’s a proper family club and everyone really looks after each other.

“It’s a little bit old school in some ways but that’s where you get Rugby League at its rawest and that’s what a lot of people love about it, including myself.”

Having entered his fifth season with the Bulldogs, the committed half-back recently achieved an impressive feat, by breaking the club record for the most consecutive appearances.

Previously held by former Batley player Richard Price, with a record of 103, White went on to surpass this and amass a staggering 109 appearances, dating back to his first season with the Bulldogs in February 2020.

“I think it came to my third season and Craig Lingard [former Batley head coach] was really big on his stats. He may have given me the heads up as to where I was in the rankings for records of consecutive appearances.

“We then delved a little bit deeper into it and we found out that 103 was the top one at the time and I went on to surpass that.

“It was actually quite nice as I surpassed that after the game against Castleford in the Challenge Cup as well. It was also nice because Craig Lingard gave me my first Batley appearance and then the record appearing one was against his new side.

“Five games on, I then picked up a bit of a niggle and my run had to come to an end. I was a bit disappointed that it ended, but I did everything I could to be fit for the team.

"It’s not probably a record you aim for as a player but it’s a really nice accolade I can look back on in the future.”


Ben White 2


Like many Batley players who have been at the club for years, White has evolved into a true leader of the group – a player that his team-mates can rely on and look up to.

“I think I’ve naturally grown into a leadership role with the likes of other players who have been there for years," White said.

“The beauty of our club is that we are very player led because of the experience we’ve got within the squad - especially over the past three or four years and being involved in high profile games.

“We know what we need to do to get at it, and some people might say some of us are past it now, so it’s extra motivation to prove these people wrong.”

A spirited Batley have enjoyed glimpses of success in recent years, and although they haven’t quite managed to acquire any silverware off the back of it, they have defied the odds and exceeded many people’s expectations.

In the three previous seasons, the Bulldogs have gone on to feature in a Play-Off semi-final in 2021, before making it one step further with an appearance in the Championship Grand Final in 2022 - one match within Super League.

This was then followed by an AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final appearance at Wembley last year - the belief and togetherness of the team at the heart of everything they do.

White has been a significant part of all three - contributing massively to these good times at the club.

“It’s been great. As a player you always want to play in the big games, and we’ve been lucky enough to have been in and around them and involved in them.

“It’s just a shame we’ve never actually been able to come away with some silverware. We’re always looking at pushing for it and you never know what’s around the corner.”

Looking at his all-time career highlights, there were a few which sprung to mind for Batley's number 6:

“Definitely the Wembley game, the Play-Off against Leigh in 2022, and then rolling back the years – I would say the debut I had at Leeds [Rhinos].


Ben White Wembley


“It was only a solitary debut but it’s one I always pride myself on – and the fact that I’ve managed to play at the top level, in the Super League.”

For every player, there’s always a unique story on how one came to be involved within the sport. And White has had an interesting journey to present day – from reaching the top and achieving a Super League debut, to living the dream and playing in Australia, to Championship Rugby League and representing Germany at international level in between.

“I started out through watching my dad. My dad was in the army when I was growing up, which meant we never really settled anywhere. So I wasn’t really able to start until I was about six or seven years old.

“I started off at Saddleworth Rangers in Oldham before progressing through to a Saints scholarship and then a Leeds scholarship and I signed with their academy. I made my first team debut at the Rhinos and then it was part-time rugby league from there.

“I went to Swinton, left Swinton to play over in Australia, came back and signed at Halifax. Things didn’t quite work out there, so I went to Barrow for a year, then Batley and I’ve called Batley home ever since.

“That’s with playing for Germany in a single international match too. It’s been a well-travelled rugby league career so far.

“I played the 2018 season out there in Australia – it’s always been a dream of mine to play over there in some way, shape or form. The club was great out there, it made to feel like a home away from home.

“The club was Berkeley Eagles – we competed in the Illawarra competition, and they were part of the Sydney Roosters group.

“I was living with one of the chairmen of the club in split accommodation and the house was a beach front villa – I was located less than 50m from the beach!”

Now with Batley, White went on to discuss life as a part-time rugby league player. And just like the majority of players in the Championship competition, it is the constant skill of juggling numerous commitments. White’s love for the game and his family support however, are what makes the hectic lifestyle all worthwhile:

“It is like trying to spin as many plates as possible as a part-time player. I’m quite lucky though - I’m not really on the tools, I have an office-based job. The lads that are on the sites have it tougher than me, I believe.

“Sometimes on training nights, you can leave the house at half 7 in the morning and not get back until 9 o’clock at night. There are some long days in that.

“There’s trying to balance a young family and the recent birth of my baby boy last year. And there’s everyday life too – my friends, family, and my partner. It’s a bit of a balancing act but it’s something I’ve become accustomed to since I was about 18-years-old.

“It’s just about finding what works best for you. I’ve always had a great support network – my dad has always followed me everywhere all over the world. My son has started coming to games now as well – win, lose or draw and seeing his smile on the side of the pitch – it really does put a smile on your face whenever you’re in those darker days.”

With plenty of years left in the tank where rugby league is concerned, Batley's speedy playmaker outlined what he’d like to personally achieve in sport:

“I’d like to win some sort of silverware, but I know every player says this. I was fortunate enough to win the League One Promotion Final in 2015 with Swinton, but since then, Batley and I have been in and around big games but not actually won anything. 

“As a player I’d like to win some form of silverware and that’s what I’d like to do moving forward. Hopefully it can be with Batley.”


Tickets are still available for Swinton v Batley’s Round 11 clash. Fans can purchase tickets online from Swinton Lions' official club website.

The full fixture list for the Betfred Championship can be found here.

A full Betfred Championship Round 11 Preview can be found here.