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Lionesses Show Fighting Spirit in Historic Opener!

24 May 2021

The Swinton Lionesses open-age team went down narrowly to much more experienced opposition in its first-ever fixture. Fryston Warriors from Castleford took the spoils with a 20-16 scoreline, but the Lionesses certainly made them fight all the way.

The match took place on Sunday at Sale FC’s magnificent Carrington training complex, organised at the last minute after the heavy weekend rain had left Folly Lane’s pitch unplayable. Swinton Lions RLFC would therefore like to thank Sale FC for their kind offer to use the pitch, underlining the growing spirit of friendship and co operation between the two organisations.

The Fryston team had been together since the age of 11 and it showed in their cohesion and passing movements. After a tough opening few minutes the visitors took the lead following a kick on the last tackle, and they soon doubled their advantage to 8-0. However, the Lionesses struck back with a brilliant solo effort by Ellie Thirkell, who used her pace to cut through several defenders to bring the score back to 8-4.

The blustery conditions made goal-kicking extremely difficult, and the score remained unchanged at the interval.

An extremely favourable bounce following another kick on the last tackle allowed Fryston to increase their lead early in the second half, but again Ellie Thirkell pulled her side back into the game with another fantastic solo try. Holly Grimes goaled and the Lionesses were back to within two points.

At this point Fryston took a hold on the game as the Lionesses understandably tired playing into a driving wind, and two further unconverted tries took the score to 20-10 in favour of the visitors. Even so, a feature of the second half in particular was tremendous tackling by the Lionesses, who thwarted a number of tries with some heroic tackling and line defence.

Then in the very last minute the Lionesses deservedly hit back. Maddie Higson picked up a loose ball and ran half the length of the pitch to score under the posts, allowing Holly Grimes to goal and close the game at Swinton Lionesses 16 Fryston Warriors 20.

Lionesses Head Coach, Martina Greenwood, said, “It was not the result I would have wanted, but nevertheless it was a competitive scoreline and there were some great things to highlight. For example, the individual brilliance of some of our players and some fabulous tackling to keep us in the game. Swinton Lionesses definitely have some future ahead of them, as all of our players have great grit and determination. We are still new, having only just played once together today, and although we have areas to work on, we definitely have more positives than negatives. I saw excellent work ethic and teamwork out there today. Onwards and upwards!”

Swinton Lionesses lined up as follows:-

Chloe Latham; Emily Swift; Ellie Walsh; Ashley Deas; Patrycja Baranek; Maddie Higson (one try); Holly Grimes (two goals); Ellie Thirkell (two tries); Helena Ryan; Emily Haley; Jo Mullins; Rebecca Roden (captain); Sophie Martins-Fetherston; Skye Johnson; Abbie Parkes-Holden; Leah Christian.


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