The Lions travel to Craven Park to face Barrow Raiders in Round 9 of the Betfred Championship.
Swinton Lions travel to Craven Park to face Barrow Raiders in Round 9 of the Betfred Championship.
The Lions put in an improved performance against Leigh Centurions on Good Friday, despite the 30-point deficit. Stuart Littler’s men are still seeking their first win of the season after seven straight defeats in the Championship, but have arguably had a tougher start than most having played several of the full-time sides early on in the competition.
Cumbrian side Barrow have had a mixed start to the 2018 season. After an opening day loss to London Broncos, the Raiders secured a tight 8-8 draw against Toronto Wolfpack and narrow but impressive victory at home against Leigh Centurions. Disappointing defeats followed to Batley and Rochdale before a comfortable victory over the struggling Sheffield Eagles. Last week’s opponents Halifax put Paul Crarey’s side to the sword by 30 points to four.
LAST TIME OUT
Swinton Lions 30-20 Barrow Raiders
Swinton got back to winning ways in a must win game against the Raiders who had put fifty points past them earlier in the season and they came stronger and stronger in the latter stages to win the game.
Raiders had the first attack in the third minute when Peter Lupton broke free and fed the ball to Shane Toal, but the ball sailed into touch and the chance went, and then the Lions tried to fight back but the kick for the line ran dead in goal. Toal had another chance on eight minutes when he followed a Josh Ward chip but this kick also ran dead in goal.
There was a huge thunderstorm on ten minutes and it sent the crowd scattering for cover but the players carried on and Raiders took the lead on sixteen minutes when Liam Harrison broke away top send Ward in for the try by the posts and the try scorer also added the conversion.
The try of the match came on nineteen minutes when Rob Lever put a huge hit on a Barrow attacker on half way force him to lose the ball. From the resulting scrum the ball moved quickly right and Shaun Robinson raced away up the right to score in the corner, but sadly Ian Mort could not convert. Mort had a chance to score in the corner on twenty-eight minutes when he touched down in the corner but was called offside by the official.
Ben White put the Lions ahead on the half hour when he showed a clean pair of heels from thirty metres out and scored by the posts with Mort adding the simple conversion. Connor Dwyer should have increased the Lions lead seven minutes later when Mick Govin put him in the clear near the line but he lost control of the ball near the line. Chris Hankinson almost got the Raiders back on the board just before the break but his final pass to Shane Toal sailed into touch.
I am not sure what Raiders’ Paul Crarey said to his side during the break but it worked as Craig Briscoe scored on the right just after the restart with Ward added the conversion to put his side back in the lead.
Then on fifty three minutes Hankinson put in a nice inside kick and full back Chris Fleming scored to the right of the posts with Ward again converting. Ward increased the Raiders lead four minutes later when he kicked a simple penalty goal for a punch in the tackle right in front of the posts and the visitors were on top playing some good rugby.
The Lions fought back and White was grounded just ten metres short of the line but on the hour Govin made a good break and the supporting Chris Rothwell raced away to score and Mort added the conversion points.
The home side took the lead again on sixty-nine minutes following another massive hit by Lever who again made his opposite player lose the ball and from the pressure on the line Tommy Gallagher went over by the posts and Mort converted again give his side a slim lead.
Andy Thornley found his way over the line with the ball with eight minutes left but the try was cancelled out even though the lions had the feed at the scrum.
Lupton was sent to the sin bin with six minutes left when he lifted Richie Hawkyard too high in the tackle and from the penalty pressure Jordan James went close but from the play the ball Gallagher crashed over again on the left but Mort was unable to convert.
There was still time left for the Raiders to launch an attack but the Lions defence was holding well as the clock ticked down and in the final minute James scored near the left corner and the final hooter sounded but Mort was unable to add the goal points but the Lions had won the match.
Ian Rigg reporting from Park Lane, 05/07/15
Lions TV’s Colin James spoke to Stuart Littler following Sunday’s defeat to Leigh Centurions.
“I thought we dug in for 80 minutes and kept going in the grind. We can probably be a bit smarter and probably execute a bit better than we did but we competed for 80 minutes, which is probably the first time we’ve done this season. We’ve been patchy here and there. We can do better than that and it’s got to kickstart our season.
“It’s a quick turnaround at Easter. We’ve got to embrace it. Don’t worry and moan about it – it’s here. I think you’ll find the team that turns up on Easter Monday takes the spoils. The lads will freshen up tomorrow, we’ll train on Sunday and go again on Monday. It’s a massive game, they come around quick and fast but that’s what we are here to do.”
“I said to the boys it comes around thick and fast at Easter and we get an opportunity to go again on Monday. There is no point feeling sorry for ourselves, we’ve got to look forward and do everything we can to get that result.
“I thought we completed sets a lot better which we’d worked on all week. Jack Hansen had a real dig. Rhodri Lloyd was outstanding, I think he took 18 carries in the centre. Some boys really stood up including Andy Bracek.
“It’s a tough game as obviously Leigh are coming into a bit of form. They probably started the season not as well as they wanted to but it’s turning around for them. They’ve got a great team, 1-25 but we hung in there and probably could have been a bit smarter and gone in with a different scoreline at half-time and the ball game changes. The longer it goes, the more it swings in our favour. To concede the back-to-back tries before half-time was disappointing.
“We’ve need to be switched on now with that 80 minutes performance, it has to be the norm now. We started at Featherstone and it’s coming a bit now but we have to make it consistent now every week and make sure no-one drops below that. Standards have to be raised to that week in, week out. It has to become our minimum standard now, if anything.”
Forward Ben Austin returns from injury after missing out Friday’s clash against Leigh, however Mike Butt is still unable to return, still suffering from a tight hamstring. Craig Mullen, Liam Forsyth, Liam Paisley and Josh Woods arrive in the squad on dual-registration from Wigan Warriors.
LIONS SQUAD TO FACE RAIDERS: Ben Austin, Josh Barlow, Andy Bracek, Liam Forstyth, Aaron Hall, Chris Hankinson, Jack Hansen, Hayden Hansen, Will Hope, Rhodri Lloyd, Craig Mullen, Mark Nicholson, Liam Paisley, Kyle Shelford, Andy Thornley, George Tyson, Luke Waterworth, Marcus Webb, Josh Woods.
RAIDERS SQUAD TO FACE LIONS: TBC
REFEREE: T. Grant TOUCH JUDGES: S Houghton, N Woodward
VENUE: The JF Hornby Stadium, Barrow-in-Furness, LA14 1XP