BARROW RAIDERS V SWINTON LIONS – SHIELD PREVIEW
15 September 2018
Swinton Lions travel to Barrow Raiders in the fifth round of the Betfred Championship Shield.
Swinton Lions are on the road to face Barrow Raiders as the club continues to fight to maintain its position in the Betfred Championship, despite changes to the league structure.
Following the announcement of the RFL structure changes to the Championship and League One on Friday, the Lions now know that the extension of the Championship to 14 clubs for the 2019 season allows the club to finish in 7th (club’s current position) to automatically confirm it’s status in the second tier of rugby league.
An extraordinary meeting called by the sport’s governing body saw the majority of the Championship and League 1 clubs vote in favour of increasing the number of teams in the league, throwing Swinton a lifeline in the fight for survival.
- Find out more about the changes to the the structure of the Championship and League 1 clubs here
Stuart Littler’s men will see Sunday’s clash as a chance to exact revenge on the Raiders who have twice denied the Lions victory this season through late penalties to earn draws both home and away.
Barrow have only won one game in the Championship Shield fixtures, taking a 17-10 victory over Rochdale Hornets at Craven Park. The Cumbrian-based side sit five points ahead of the Lions with six to play for, however attentions may now have switched to ensuring that the club maintains it’s position above the Hornets, who are only 2 points behind the Lions. Rochdale host Leigh at the Crown Oil Arena this Sunday.
Should the Lions slip to 8th and Rochdale leapfrog them, the changes now see the Championship’s bottom side face off against the loser of the promotion playoff in League 1, allowing a final opportunity for the league’s bottom side to stay up.
LIONS: Barrow (A), Featherstone (H), Batley (A)
BARROW: Swinton (H), Sheffield (A), Featherstone (A)
ROCHDALE: Leigh (H), Dewsbury (H), Sheffield (A)
CHAMPIONSHIP SHIELD TABLE
LAST TIME OUT
Swinton Lions 22-22 Barrow Raiders
A controversial penalty in the dying seconds denied the Lions their first win of the season.
With the clock running down it was a touch of déjà-vu when just fifteen metres out from the Lions try line, a Raiders forward failed to get back to his feet after a tackle and flopped back to the floor. The visitors were awarded a penalty for interference at the play the ball and the same player that claimed the draw at Craven Park, Jamie Dallimore converted the easy penalty as the hooter sounded.
Defences were tested in the first fifteen minutes but ball-handling was the downfall on many occasions, until a defensive lapse allowed Ryan Fieldhouse to score by the posts and Dallimore added the simple conversion.
As Barrow looked to double their lead, Alec Susino had a great chance and only a last ditch tackle by Will Hope held him short of the line. The Lions look buoyed on by a noisy Lions crowd and struck back with an excellent try when Brad Billsborough found George Tyson in his own forty and he raced away down field to round Fieldhouse andscore near the left corner. Chris Hankinson failed to convert the try.
Dan Toal, who had only been on the field a couple of minutes, was sent to the sin bin for an illegal tackle on Billsborough and while he was in the bin the Lions made the Raiders pay. Firstly Andy Thornley sent Rhodri Lloyd away for a try on the left as Hankinson again missed with the kick.
Four minutes later more pressure on the line saw Liam Paisley race in under the posts without anyone getting near him. This time Hankinson did land the conversion from in front to give his side some breathing space. However in the dying seconds of the half the Lions defence was breached when Ryan Duffy went close and from the play the ball moved swiftly to the right for Shane Toal to score in the corner as Dallimore executed the conversion from the touchline.
The scores were locked level again two minutes after the restart when the Lions were penalised for an off the ball tackle and Dallimore slotted the kick between the posts. Paisley then put his side back in the lead when Jack Hansen sold him a nice short pass and he scored on the right but this time the conversion from Hankinson stuck the posts and bounced out.
Tyson was then sent to the sin bin for an illegal tackle in Dan Toal and from the resulting penalty pressure Dean Parata slipped a couple of tackles to score by the posts with Dallimore again converting.
The Lions would not lie down and were desperate to get their first win under their belts. Luke Waterworth used the wrong option with the left defence open as he went for glory, but from the remaining tackles the ball did go left and Tyson ran strongly onto a Brad Billsborough pass to score. Billsborough took over the kicking duties for this one and his effort sailed wide leaving a two-point ball game going into the final ten minutes.
With just thirty seconds left and Raiders on the attack the Lions were penalised right in front of their own posts and as the final hooter sounded Dallimore slotted another penalty goal to level the scores and claim the point leaving the Lions players on their knees with disappointment.
Ian Rigg reporting from Heywood Road, 20/05/2018
Stuart Littler spoke to LionsTV’s Colin James after his side’s defeat to Leigh Centurions at Leigh Sports Village.
‘We spoke all week about coming here, challenging and giving a good account of ourselves. I thought defensively we let ourselves down today. We showed some nice touches and glimpses in attack but didn’t buy into our defence at all and I think we just gave up in the second half.
“I’ve spoke honestly with the boys and some of those actions aren’t good enough for our standards here at this club. There’s people talking about contracts at this club and stuff like that, we can’t be giving out contracts out after a performance like that.
“We’ve drawn both games against Barrow and probably should have won both but for late minute penalties at their place, dubious one probably at ours but they don’t go away. They grind it out. it’s a tough place to go,not many teams go up their and have success. We’ve got to go up there and be tough, do a job. We’ve got to be a lot better defensively than we showed today. We’ve got to fight for everything.
“We saw the desire a week prior but probably let ourselves down today. I can’t accept that, we’ve got to move this club forward, whether its with the people onboard with us or by bringing new people in. We need to put ourselves in the best position if an opportunity comes through a lifeline and then we have to move forwards. We have to progress the club each year, off and on the pitch. Opportunities don’t come round like that, we’d be kicking ourselves if we didn’t best place ourselves to take the opportunity, if it comes about.”
Stuart Littler makes one change following the defeat to Leigh Centurions as Aaron Hall replaces Will Hope who has a wrist injury.
Josh Woods joins up with the squad on dual-registration from Wigan Warriors. Craig Mullen and Josh Barlow continue to miss out through injury.
LIONS SQUAD TO FACE RAIDERS: Ben Austin, Andy Bracek, Joe Brown, Mike Butt, Rob Fairclough, Josh Ganson, Ryan Gray, Aaron Hall, Hayden Hansen, Jack Hansen, Paddy Jones, Rhodri Lloyd, Kyle Shelford, Andy Thornley, George Tyson, Luke Waterworth, Josh Woods, Paul Wood, Chris Worrall.
RAIDERS SQUAD TO FACE LIONS: TBC
REFEREE: L. Moore TOUCH JUDGES: T. Arnold, M. Smaill
KICK-OFF: Sunday 16th September, 15:00 BST
VENUE: Duke Street, Barrow-In-Furness, Cumbria, England, LA14 5UW
TICKETS: Adults: £15, Concessions: £10, Child Under 16: £5, Child Under 5 – Free, plus £2 Transfer Fee to Grandstand