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Lions Defeat Newcastle in Challenge Cup Round One!

22 March 2021

The Lions booked their place in the next round of the Challenge Cup after a fantastic defensive display in the second half that thwarted a Thunder fightback led by former Wigan dual registration player Josh Woods.

Swinton Lions 28-16 Newcastle Thunder

The Lions suffered an early blow when Liam Forsyth had to leave the field with a leg injury and Rhodri Lloyd moved to the centres to take his place with Louis Brogan coming on to replace Forsyth.  And in fact it was Lloyd who opened the Lions try account in the eleventh minute when Martyn Ridyard set up an attack on the right and the Lions scored about ten metres from the corner with Ridyard adding the conversion points. Thunder tried to hit back eight minutes later when Evan Simons made a dart for the line but his try was cancelled out for a double movement.

Lions stretched their lead on the half hour mark when Mike Butt raced onto a Ridyard kick to score on the left and claim his three hundredth point in a Lions shirt and try creator Ridyard again made no mistake with the conversion. In the final minutes of the half Ridyard tried to add a drop goal but it dropped wide and from the restart on the twenty Thunder made good progress down the field and as the half time hooter sounded they forced the play and threw out a long pass to the right but the Lions were wise to it and Butt collected it about twenty metres out and raced away to score his second try of the evening, but the conversion attempt from Ridyard hit the posts and bounced out but the Lions held a sixteen point lead at the break.

Thunder started strong in the second half and Ted Chapelhow was held up over the line in the first couple of minutes. They continued their pressure on the Lions line and on forty-nine minutes it looked like Jack Johnson might score on the left but some great defence took him into touch. Ukuma Ta’ai opened the Thunder try account when he went over on the right after a good pass by Woods and Matty Wright added the conversion from close to the touchline. Ta’ai had a second try wiped off by the referee on sixty-one minutes for a knock on and the Lions defence was being made to work overtime to keep Thunder out.

Jack Hansen added the Lions next try two minutes later when Paul Nash, Lewis Hatton and Geronimo Doyle all combined to put the scrum half in under the posts and Ridyard converted again to put his side sixteen points ahead. Thunder then struck back with two tries in seven minutes masterminded by Woods with firstly Cian Tyrer going over on the right and this was converted and then Sam Wilde went over on the left but this time the conversion was missed but Thunder were now only six points behind with seven minutes remaining on the clock.

Captain Rhodri to the rescue as the Lions captain made a super break down the right with three minutes left and fed a nice pass for Doyle who got past the Thunder fullback to score under the posts and Ridyard made no mistake with the conversion meaning the Lions are in the next round.

Ian Rigg at Heywood Road


22 Geronimo Doyle

2 Richard Lepori

3 Mitch Cox

4 Liam Forsyth

1 Mike Butt

6 Martyn Ridyard

7 Jack Hansen

8 Sam Brooks

9 Luke Waterworth

10 Lewis Hatton

11 Rhodri Lloyd

12 Nick Gregson

13 Will Hope

Subs (all used)

24 Paul Nash

15 Louis Brogan

16 Paddy Jones

19 Deane Meadows

Tries: Lloyd (11), Butt (30,40), Hansen (63), Doyle (77)

Goals: Ridyard 4/5


1 Lewis Young

2 Jack Johnson

3 Matty Wright

5 Callum Turner

28 Cian Tyrer

6 Jake Shorrocks

7 Josh Woods

8 Nathan Wilde

14 Evan Simmons

10 Mikey Wood

11 Ukuma Ta’ai

12 Sam Wilde

17 Connor Bailey

Subs (all used)

15 Ted Chapelhow

16 Jay Chapelhow

19 Evan Hodgson

20 Cole Oakley

Scoring Sequence: 6-0, 12-0, 16-0, 16-6, 22-6, 22-12, 22-16, 28-16.

Half-time: 16-0

Referee: Scott Mikalauskas


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