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03 June 2024


IAN RIGG at Millenium Stadium, Post Office Road, Featherstone

The Lions bounced back from the York defeat to stun Rovers on their own patch in a truly end to end game. Rovers had suffered defeat at Barrow last weekend and had brought in Ben Nakubuwai on loan from Leigh for the rest of the season. New signing Greg Eden was forced to play scrum-half on his debut and on the bench Zach Fishwick and Jack Brown had arrived from Hull KR on dual reg. The Lions had made changes too with hooker Denive Balmforth arriving from Hull FC on a month-long loan, and Leon Cowen came in on dual registration form Saints as well and Tee Ritson and Jonny Vaughan.

The Lions played down the slope in the first-half, but it was Rovers that took the early lead when Connor Jones went through a large gap to score and Danny Addy added the simple conversion on six minutes and seven minutes later they scored again when Eden put in a short kick for Brad England to go over on the right and again Addy converted again. The Lions hit back on twenty minutes when Dec Patton put in a measured kick to the left and Jayden Hatton won the race to ground the ball and score the try before the ball ran dead and Patton added the conversion. Patton then kicked a forty-twenty on twenty-three minutes and from the pressure on the Rovers line Balmforth got over for his first Lions try by the posts and Patton converted to level the scores. Rovers regained the lead five minutes later when Brown was held up but from the play the ball Addy moved the ball left to send Brad Day over on the left and Addy again converted. Rovers were on the attack eight minutes from the break but Jake Spedding intercepted a pass to race fifty metres down the slope only to be taken down about fifteen metres out and from the play-the-ball Ritson took the carry to about five metres from the line before he was tackled by Connor Wynne, but from the play-the-ball Spedding forced his way over in the corner and Patton was just wide with the conversion. Patton kicked another forty-twenty just after the restart and Hatton went close from the pressure, but good tackling held him out. The Lions forced a goal line drop out in the last minute of the half and from this and pressure on the Rovers line Patton found Jordy Gibson with a short pass to crash over by the posts and Patton converted to send the Lions in with a 22-18 lead at the break.

Rovers started the second-half going down the slope and playing some fast attacking rugby and Wellington Albert had an early chance but lost the ball near the line. The scores were level six minutes into the half when a nice, floated pass found Wynne on the left and he scored in the corner with Addy not able to convert from the touchline, but they did go back into the lead four minutes later when Addy this time found Greg Minikin and he scored in the left corner with Addy converting this one. They then forced a goal line drop out on fifty-three minutes and this time Addy finished off a good spell of pressure with a try by the posts to which he converted to stretch the lead to twelve points. A good bit of play up the right on the hour by Vaughan, Spedding and Ritson forced a Rovers player to jump the line and knock on in his own thirty. From the scrum the Lions put pressure on the line and Gav Rodden forced his was over for his first try of the season and Patton converted. Four minutes later they were in again when Spedding and Ritson again combined this time to send Mitch Cox over for the try and Patton converted to lock the scores at 34 all, but it got even better on sixty-seven minutes when a lovely inside pass found Andy Badrock to cut inside and score under the posts with Patton again converting. Rovers forced a goal line drop out when Spedding was trapped in-goal with six minutes left and from the pressure on the line Jones darted over for his second try and Addy converted to lock the scores once again. The Lions were awarded a penalty for obstruction thirty metres out and slightly right of centre with three minutes left and Patton cooly added the two points to put the Lions back into the lead. It was a frantic last couple of minutes which saw an incident involving Lewis Hall and Connor Jones to go on report after an altercation, and then as the hooter sounded Rovers had the ball but after a frantic few seconds the finally lost the ball and Hatton dived on it to end the game and send the large following of Lions fans home happy.

This was the first time that Swinton had won an away league at Featherstone since May 1963.

Abram, Ritson, Spedding, Hatton, Williams, Patton, Gibson, Cowen, Balmforth, Spencer-Tonks, Badrock, Cox, Hall. Subs: Eaves, Hammond (NU), Rodden, Vaughan.

Tries: Hatton (20), Balmforth (24), Spedding (32), Gibson (39), Rodden (61), Cox (65), Badrock (67),
Goals: Patton 7/8

Referee: Scott Mikalauskas
Penalties: Featherstone 6 Swinton 3


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