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20 February 2018

Swinton were left to rue costly errors as Batley ran out comfortable winners at the Lions’ temporary home at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Gabe Fell scored his first try of the season for the Lions in the first half

It was points aplenty at the AJ Bell Stadium, as Batley came out on top at Swinton’s temporary new home.

The Lions repeatedly gave themselves too much to do, as a couple of lethal periods from the Bulldogs, where they scored try after try put too much daylight between the sides.

Batley’s form was also assisted along by Swinton’s unfortunate habit of conceding penalties and picking up cards from the referee.

It was the Lions however who made the early pace, Josh Woods’ pass was met on a lovely angle by Gabe Fell who stepped out of a couple of tacklers to score.

The Yorkshiremen slowly but surely took control of the opening half, Pat Walker drizzled a kick against the upright that Matt Sarsfield needed to clear up, Mike Butt and Fell left a huge bomb to each other before the half backs combined to send over Lewis Galbraith.

Butt thwarted a lovely kick to the corner from Walker, Michael Ward knocked on twisting over in the act of scoring before Wayne Reittie accepted a gift from the Lions, scooping up a loose pass and scooting sixty yards to the line.

Reittie and Batley didn’t look back after that, Ward was wonderfully denied by Jack Hansen’s tackle but Adam Gledhill somewhat opportunistically went over from dummy half on the next.

That was followed up by another Galbraith score, Batley’s kicking was keeping Swinton in it, which is why the centre narrowed the angle for Walker.

The Bulldogs were then thrown a bone by Swinton, in the form of a fantastic dummy by Jack Hansen as he raced in from thirty metres. Hankinson goaled this one and his own try minutes later as the teams closed to within a score at the interval.

Chris Hankinson scored four out of five kicks against the Bulldogs

In the second half, both teams discipline disintegrated but it was Swinton whom it cost the most, just minutes in and Hayden Hansen was put on report for a late hit on Walker while he kicked.

Despite it being bitterly cold on the pitch, the temperature was rising in another sense, Ward was hit high as he charged for the line, Brad Day was held up before Swinton were pushed behind their own line for a dropout when they got the ball next.

This was all the prelude to the first brawl with Josh Barlow sin binned for the Lions, after Ward was hit high in the tackle.

The Bulldog fans will no doubt be gleeful that with Ward’s assailant off, the prop picked up two tries, one thanks to Dominic Brambani, the other by supporting Dave Scott, following a stellar offload by Galbraith.

Ward even benevolently spurned the chance of a hat trick shortly afterwards, benevolently sending in Day instead.

Then Rhodri Lloyd was penalised for uttering something to the ref, Walker sent Scott bounding over for Batley again.

Back came Swinton, Luke Waterworth sneaking over from close range before great handling from Andy Bracek and Woods sent over Matt Sarsfield. Chris Hankinson’s reliable kicking kept Swinton in it, as the Lions were fourteen points adrift with thirteen to play.

Alistair Leak made absolutely sure of the win with another smash and grab effort soon afterwards, Swinton kicking dead an attempted short kick off in an effort to start a fightback.

With the game gone, Gareth Hewer had to intervene once more, when Shaun Ainscough threw the ball at Butt. The Lions winger had his revenge, stealing the ball from his Batley counterpart shortly afterwards but Woods passed to no one in particular in the last attack of note.


SWINTONGabe Fell, Mike Butt, Chris Hankinson, Rhodri Lloyd, Liam Forsyth, Josh Woods, Jack Hansen, Andy Bracek, Luke Waterworth, Kyle Shelford, Macaulay Davies, Matt Sarsfield, Gavin Bennion

Subs (all used): Josh Barlow, Hayden Hansen, Samy Kibula, Conor Taylor

Tries: Fell 3, J Hansen 33, Hankinson 36, Waterworth 63, Sarsfield 67.

Goals: Hankinson 4/5. Sin Bin: Barlow (49) – fighting.

On Report: H Hansen (44) – late hit, Barlow (49) – fighting,

BATLEY: Dave Scott, Wayne Reittie, Jason Crookes, Lewis Galbraith, Shaun Ainscough, Pat Walker, Dominic Brambani, Adam Gledhill, Alistair Leak, Alex Rowe, Dane Manning, Brad Day, James Brown

Subs (all used): Joe Chandler, James Davey, Tommy Holland, Michael Ward

Tries: Galbraith 11, 30, Reittie 23, Gledhill 27, Ward 50, 53, Day 55, Scott 61, Leak 71.

Goals: Walker 6/9.

Penalty count: 7-10   Half-time: 16-20   Referee: Gareth Hewer   Attendance: 588

Scoring sequence: 4-0, 4-4, 4-8, 4-14, 4-20, 10-20, 16-20, 16-26, 16-32, 16-36, 16-42, 22-42, 28-42, 28-48.



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