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25 March 2018

Swinton saw red as Championship league leaders London Broncos took advantage of a first-half Josh Barlow dismissal to earn victory at Heywood Road.

Forward Andy Thronley made a return to the Lions’ line-up after nine months out with an ACL injury (Picture: Peter Green)

Swinton Lions 18-64 London Broncos

The Broncos go marching on at the peak of the Championship with a twelve-try victory over the luckless Lions.

The Lions had two blows before kick-off losing winger Mike Butt and second-row man Matt Sarsfield to injury and illness and had to shuffle their team accordingly. However they started brightly when Jack Hansen put up a towering kick towards the line and Elliott Caine rose to collect the high ball and beat Rhys Williams to score in the corner. Chris Hankinson opened his account adding the conversion from the touchline.

London eventually got into their stride and scored two tries in three minutes which were both created by Api Pewhairangi with inside passes and Kieran Dixon and Alex Walker both got touchdowns with Dixon converting both.

Will Lovell scored the third from a nice scrum move near the line but Dixon could not convert this one from the touchline. The Lions then had a few good chances twice forcing Broncos into goal line drop outs and Luke Waterworth darted for the line but was denied after he was held up.

The visitors had a strong last ten minutes to the half and almost scored again but an excellent tackle by Josh Barlow on James Cunningham forced him into a knock on near the line and the chance went. The Championship leaders were back on the board though when Walker stole the ball one-on-one with Caine to score on the right and Dixon again converted. Good man turned bad in the dying seconds of the half when Barlow was sent off for a head-butt on Eddie Battye and Dixon converted the resulting penalty as the half time hooter sounded.

With the extra man advantage, Broncos came out all guns blazing after the break and within three minutes Dixon intercepted a Hankinson pass near his own line to race away and score at the other end, which he was unable to convert. The Broncos were hungry for more and just two minutes later were rewarded when Cunningham took a nice inside pass from Pewhairangi to score under the posts with the extras again being added. This was swiftly followed straight from the restart to three tries in five minutes when James Meadows finished off a nice passing movement on the left but no conversion from this one.

Gavin Bennion went close for the Lions when he was held just short before Broncos got back into their stride when Hull-bound Lewis Bienek took a short pass from Battye to score by the posts with Dixon converting.

Ben Helliwell was next to add to the Lions misery when he scored on the left after a good passing movement but this conversion was missed. The Lions then had another chance and this saw Ben Austin held up over the line and then they forced a goal line drop out from the last tackle and finally Hayden Hansen darted over for a try by the posts on the next set and Hankinson again converted.

Broncos then ran in three more tries in a six minute period with Tom Spencer, Cunningham and Walker all going over and Dixon added two more conversions but the Lions who had scored first in the game had the last say when Hankinson took a lovely reverse pass from Aaron Hall to score by the posts and convert as the hooter sounded.

Ian Rigg reporting from Heywood Road


LIONS: Gabriel Fell, Elliott Caine, Rhodri Lloyd, George Tyson, Marcus Webb, Chris Hankinson, Jack Hansen, Andy Bracek, Luke Waterworth, Gavin Bennion, Chris Worrall, Andy Thornley, Ben Austin

Subs (All Used) Josh Barlow, Hayden Hansen, Will Hope, Aaron Hall

Tries: Caine (8), H.Hansen (64), Hankinson (80)   Goals: Hankinson 3/3

Sent Off: Barlow (40) Head Butt


BRONCOS: Alex Walker, Kieran Dixon, Will Lovell, Ben Helliwell, Rhys Williams, Api Pewhairangi, James Meadows, Tom Spencer, James Cunningham, Mark Ioane, Jay Pitts, Matty Gee, Matt Davis

Subs (All Used): Sam Davis, Rob Butler, Lewis Bienek, Eddie Battye

Tries: Dixon (15,43), Walker (18,36,74), Lovell (24), Cunningham (45,70), Meadows (48), Bienek (55), Helliwell (58), Spencer (67).

Goals: Dixon 8/13

Penalty Count: 13-11   Half-time: 6-24   Referee: Liam Staveley   Attendance: 518



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