Swinton Lions make the short trip to Leigh Sports Village to face Leigh Centurions in Round 22 of the Betfred Championship.
Swinton Lions make the short trip to face Leigh Centurions at Leigh Sports Village in Round 22 of the Betfred Championship.
The Lions suffered a heavy 60-4 home defeat to Featherstone Rovers last week which leaves the club level on 8 points with Rochdale at the bottom of the Championship, albeit with a better points difference. With Hornets making the long and difficult trip to Canada to face Toronto Wolfpack this weekend, Stuart Littler’s men hope to come away with something to keep in touching distance of 10th-placed Dewsbury outside of the relegation spots.
Leigh are back in the hunt for a place the Middle 8s after two comfortable victories in July against Batley Bulldogs and Rochdale Hornets. The Centurions, relegated in the Million Pound Game last year against Catalan Dragons, sit just behind Halifax and London Broncos in fourth on 29 points making Sunday’s visit of Swinton vital to their hopes of a return to Super League.
Championship Fixtures remaining
Swinton: Leigh (A), Batley (A)
Leigh: Swinton (H), Sheffield (H)
LAST TIME OUT
Swinton Lions 10-40 Leigh Centurions
The Centurions made it three wins in three Championship games in a hard fought game over their local rivals in front of a bumper crowd.
The visitors started strongest and had try cancelled out in the fourth minute when Ricky Bailey went over the line, but the final pass was forward. Swinton immediately replied with some good pressure on the line but the defence held out.
Former Lion Liam Hood opened the scoring ten minutes later when he darted over from short range by the posts and Craig Hall converted. This was quickly followed by a second try when Nathan Mason went over from a good passing movement and again the conversion was good.
The Lions got on the board after some good build up play by Kyle Shelford and Jack Hansen to feed George Tyson. He outpaced the defence to score on the right-hand side but the conversion attempt from Chris Hankinson hit the uprights and bounced out.
In seek of their first win of the season, Stuart Littler’s men pushed on. However, the next Lions try came courtesy of a Centurions mistake. The visitors were awarded a penalty ten metres off their own try line but they failed to find touch and the Lions quickly moved up field. Will Hope broke clear to pass to the supporting Kyle Shelford and he raced in under the posts with Hankinson converting this one to put the Lions right back in the game. but
However, there was a sucker punch to come when the Centurions scored two more tries in the final three minutes of the half. Hall going over on the right after good build up play by Drew Hutchinson and the second again by Hall when Ben Crookes made a good break to feed him the ball and he raced away to score by the posts. He added both conversions to give his side a good lead at the break.
Leigh started the second half by taking the game to the Lions and an excellent tackle by Jack Hansen prevented Bodine Thompson from scoring in the forty-third minute. However, five minutes later the Centurions added their fifth try when the same player got his reward after the ball went through many pairs of hands for him to score by the posts. Hall was good with the boot again.
The next try was a complete gift when Hutchinson sent a high kick towards the Lions right side defence and Elliot Caine dropped it and it was swooped up by Peter Mata’utia near the try line and dived over but Hall could not convert this one.
The Lions where trying everything to get to the try-line but the Centurions defence was scrambling well and they couldn’t break the line. The visitors got their reward for relentless defending with twelve minutes left. The impressive Hall and Crookes combined to send Matty Dawson-Jones over in the corner and Hall again was good with sixth conversion but the game ended with the Lions again pressing the line but unable to break through.
Ian Rigg reporting from Heywood Road, 30/03/2018
Lions’ Head Coach Stuart Littler spoke to LionsTV following his side’s defeat at home against Featherstone Rovers.
“First half we were in a battle, there was a few individual errors and mistakes that cost us. I think 18-0 didn’t really reflect the first half. I thought if we came out and scored the first try we would be back in the ball game.
“The start of the second half wasn’t where I wanted it to be. I thought we had some weak actions. Obviously Featherstone are a quality side and capatlised on that and scored a try, then we just backed it up with errors and penalties. I one point we had 2 sets and then had 9 sets and it takes it out of you in this heat. In the two sets we had we only played two tackles, so we’ve had eight tackles with the ball and obviously you can’t play in this heat defending all the time.
“They are a quality side so they are obviously going to be in your face a little bit and we have to weather the storm. First half we did it a little better than the second half, but we need to be a bit smarter. I said to the boys that we need to start learning from some of our mistakes and showing that we are taking things on board that we are practicising.
“We kick on to next week, obviously we’ve got a tough one against Leigh and then finish the season against Batley and go into the split. We’ve got to pick points up and pick them up fast.”
Luke Waterworth misses out with a slight twinge to the calf injury that has recently kept him out of action but should be fit to return next week.
LIONS SQUAD TO FACE CENTURIONS: Josh Barlow, Brad Billsborough, Andy Bracek, Joe Brown, Mike Butt, Craig Mullen, Macauley Davies, Rob Fairclough, Gabe Fell, Josh Ganson, Aaron Hall, Hayden Hansen, Jack Hansen, Will Hope, Paddy Jones, Rhodri Lloyd, Kyle Shelford, Andy Thornley, George Tyson
CENTURIONS SQUAD TO FACE LIONS: Craig Hall, Matty Dawson Jones, Ben Crooks, Peter Mata’utia, Ben Reynolds, Drew Hutchinson, Daniel Mortimer, Kevin Larroyer, Bodene Thompson, Harrison Hansen, Liam Hood, Jordan Thompson, Nathan Mason, Jack Owens, Greg Richards, Ricky Bailey, Jack Blagbrough, Ryan Bailey, Adam Walne.
REFEREE: M. Griffiths TOUCH JUDGES: N. Lawrenson, J. Woodman
KICK-OFF: Sunday 22nd July, 15:00 BST
VENUE: Leigh Sports Village, Sale Way, Leigh, WN7 4JY