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Swinton Lions return to Heywood Road on 24th February to host French-side Toulouse in round four of the Betfred Championship.
11 February 2019
Swinton Lions looked impressive on their return to Heywood Road, but three late tries from Bradford saw John Kear’s side take a 31-12 victory.
Swinton Lions returned to Heywood Road with a strong performance, but three second-half tries saw Bradford claim the two league points on offer.
A strong second half from the Bulls enabled them to fight back and take a hard fought victory against a Lions side much improved from their defeat at Sheffield last week.
Bulls took the lead just five minutes into the game when Brandon Pickersgill broke free to feed Matty Wildie, who raced away to score by the posts and Dane Chisholm added the simple conversion. However, the Lions soon hit back when Liam Paisley was held up just short of the line and on the last tackle Harry Smith sent a kick over the Bulls line and managed to win the goal line drop out. From this the Lions put more pressure on the line and on the last tackle of the set Rob Fairclough sent in a short kick for the corner and Mike Butt won the race to score but Chris Hankinson was unable to convert from the touchline.
It got even better for the Lions four minutes later when Fairclough again kicked for the line and the ball hit Pickersgill and bounced into the path of Liam Forsyth, who managed to dive on the ball and score and this time Hankinson added the conversion to put the Lions ahead. The Bulls fought back and had some great chances with first Rhys Evans being held up on twenty minutes and then Steve Crossley went over only to be brought back for a forward pass.
The Lions went back into the lead on twenty-nine minutes when Hankinson kicked a penalty goal and then Bulls had another good chance but Evans knocked on near the line before his side hit back five minutes from the break when Jy Hitchcox scored in the corner after a good kick from Chisholm and the same player added the conversion from the touchline to level the scores. The visitors took the lead in the dying seconds of the half when Chisholm converted a penalty for holding down.
The Bulls came out firing in the second half when firstly George Flanagan was held up on the line and then on the next set Elliot Minchella forced his way over for a hotly disputed try in the right corner but Chisholm could not add the conversion to this one. Mike Butt then had a good chance for the Lions but lost the ball ten metres out. Just after that a Lions player was placed on report for something that happened in the tackle and the Lions then had a good spell of pressure but the Bulls defence held strong.
Another incident went on report on sixty-five minutes when Rhodri Lloyd seemed to be hit late in the tackle. Bulls were looking to close the game down as the Lions were coming strong and Jordan Lilley slotted over a drop goal thirteen minutes from time but three minutes later Crossley crashed over by the posts and Chisholm made no mistake from close range and in the dying minutes Evans scored on the right after good initial build up by Hitchcox and again the conversion was good and it was two from two for the Bulls.
Ian Rigg reporting from Heywood Road
Lions: Hansen, Butt, Lloyd, Hankinson, Forsyth, Smith, Fairclough, Bennion, Waterworth, Paisley, Shelford, Byrne.
Subs: Brickhill, Austin, P.Jones, Halton.
Tries: Butt (12′), Forsyth (16′)
Goals: Hankinson 2/3
Bulls: Pickersgill, Hitchcox, Evans, Webster, Ryan, Chisholm, Lilley, Kirk, Wild, Crossley, Farell, Minchella, Hallas.
Subs: Flanagan, Green, Oakes, Wood.
Tries: Wildie (5′), Hitchcox (35′), Minchella (47′), Crossley (70′), Evans (73′)
Goals: Chisholm 4/5
Drop Goal: Lilley
FT: 31-12 HT: 12-14
Referee: John McMullen
Photo Credits: Emily Parker