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19 August 2019

Swinton Lions claimed their first victory over Halifax since 2017.

The Lions claimed the two-league points at Heywood Road with an impressive 32-12 victory in the Betfred Championship.

Swinton Lions got back on track with a good win over Halifax but despite it being a fairly clean game there were three red cards and three yellow cards shown by the match official.

Halifax lost Ed Barber in the first half when he had just returned to the field from a yellow. He was shown a red card for a dangerous tackle that caused a fight and Lions Mike Butt was sent to the sin bin for running in and his team mate Rob Fairclough was yellow carded in the first incident with Barber. With three minutes to go the game boiled over again and Rhodri Lloyd and Steve Tyrer were both red carded by the referee.

With ball in hand the Lions were far the best side and Richard Lepori put them ahead on eight minutes when he won the race to touch down a Fairclough kick on the right but Jack Hansen could not convert. The Lions added a second four minutes later when Scott Grix knocked on near his own line and from the scrum and it was Fairclough again with the high kick towards the line on the last and Craig Mullen collected the ball to score but Hansen missed as his conversion hit the upright.

Halifax then had a couple of attacks at the Lions line but poor ball handling or good defence stopped the danger. On twenty minutes came the fight where Fairclough and Barber were sin binned.

Keegan Hirst looked like he would score on twenty-one minutes but great defence held him up before the Lions increased the lead with two tries in four minutes with firstly Butt scoring in the corner from a Hansen kick and then Luke Waterworth created a good try for Matty Ashton who scored under the posts and Hansen converted both.

Seven minutes before the break came the incident involving Butt to the bin and the Barber red card but Halifax managed to register a try five minutes before the break when James Saltonstall went over and Tyrer converted to give them a glimmer of a chance at the break.

The Lions went further ahead four minutes into the second half when Lepori finished off a good passing movement on the right but no conversion from Hansen, but he did add a penalty goal on fifty two minutes for back chat from a Fax player.

Try of the match came on sixty-one minutes when Fairclough broke down the left and with the Fax defence back tracking he managed to thread a pass between two defenders and Chris Hankinson raced away to score with Hansen converting. Nothing was going right for Fax and even a penalty kick to touch by James Woodburn-Hall was superbly plucked out of the air and he got his team back on the attack. Shaun Robinson had a try cancelled out by the officials with ten minutes left as the pass from Tyrer drifted forward.

Then came the two red cards with three minutes left for Lloyd and Tyrer when tempers boiled over and Mike Butt then had another chance to score from a Hansen kick but it just ran away from him but it was Fax that finished the game with a consolation try as Jacob Fairbank crossed as the final hooter sounded and Woodburn-Hall added the conversion.

Ian Rigg reporting from Heywood Road.


Lions: Ashton, Butt, Hankinson, Mullen, Lepori, Hansen, Fairclough, Bennion, Waterworth, Hatton, Lloyd, Wells, P.Jones.

Subs: Brickhill, Gregson, Kibula, Kenga.

Tries: Lepori (8′,44′), Mullen (12′), Butt (26′), Ashton (30′), Hankinson (61′)

Goals: Hansen 4/7

Halifax: Grix, Robinson, Tyrer, Saltonstall, McGrath, Murrell, Woodburn-Hall, Hirst, Moore, Fairbank, Cooper, Barber, Larroyer.

Subs: Johnston, Fleming, Davies, Kavanagh.

Tries: Saltonstall (35), Fairbank (80)

Goals: Tyrer 1/1, Woodburn-Hall 1/1

HT: 20-6 FT: 32-12

Referee: Steve Race

Attendance: 909

Photo credits: Pete Green & Emily Parker


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