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31 May 2019

Swinton Lions utility back Matty Ashton reflects on his time with the team so far.

Matty Ashton admits he’s loving life so far at Swinton Lions, with the team entering the second half of the Betfred Championship season.

The young back scored his 50th point for the Lions against Dewsbury Rams last weekend, and was recently included in Rugby League World’s Championship Team of the Month, alongside teammate Gavin Bennion.

Ashton has quickly established himself as a fan-favourite, with 13 tries so far in the Championship season, second-top scorer behind partner Mike Butt.

The 20-year-old admits he’s enjoying his time in the Championship and relishing the opportunity with Swinton.

“I’ve loved my time so far at Swinton,” he said.

“I’ve settled in really well and I’m enjoying my rugby.

“I’ve loved playing at Heywood Road this year. The fans make a brilliant atmosphere and they come in numbers week in week out.

“All of the team appreciates them so much because in reality without them, there wouldn’t a club, so we are extremely grateful.

“I’ll always be grateful to Stuart [Littler] for giving me the chance to play at this level. He’s improved and built me up as a player and gave me some good advise along the way. There is a great set of lads at this club and there’s a togetherness about the place which I really enjoy.”

Ashton was involved in the Swinton squad both at the away Toronto fixture at Lamport Stadium, and most recently at the Blackpool Summer Bash, which saw the Lions claim a 40-30 victory over Rochdale with a stunning second-half comeback.

The fixtures also saw the side feature on Sky Sports, in which Ashton made his debut on the sports channel.

“Having the chance to play in Toronto and on Sky has been such an amazing experience for me,” Ashton said.

“This time last year I wasn’t expecting any of this to happen. It’s such an exciting feeling knowing your family and friends are seeing my face on the televison.”

On the Summer Bash, he added: “Walking out at a stadium like Bloomfield with so many fans and at such a big occasion was great.

“Our fans produced such a loud atmosphere. It was brilliant.”

Ashton most recently crossed the whitewash against Dewsbury Rams as the Lions claimed back-to-back wins for the first time in three years.

The winger has scored eight tries in his last five appearances for Swinton.

“I’ve always been confident in my try scoring ability,” he said.

“It’s just about being at the right place at the right time in some cases.

“Hopefully I can kick on and help the team score some more points this season.”

Stuart Littler’s side currently sit 10th in the Betfred Championship table after impressive wins against Barrow, Rochdale and Dewsbury, narrowly avoiding the bottom two places that will see sides relegated to League One for 2020.

“Staying up is very important for the club to be moving in the right direction,” Ashton said.

“Progression up the league keeps the club in good hands and keeps fans happy and hopefully it can get more numbers through the gates!”

Swinton travel to the Tetley’s Stadium this Sunday in round two of the 1895 Cup, before hosting Toronto Wolfpack at Heywood Road with special ticket prices.

Photo credits: Emily Parker, Pete Green, Ross Rowlands and Simon Hall.


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