A strong second-half performance from the Lions, despite defeat at Leigh Centurions, gives hope ahead of the Championship Shield fixtures.
Leigh Centurions 50-24 Swinton Lions
A very strong second half performance from the Lions gave the Centurions something to think about as Stuart Littler’s side continue to battle for points ahead of the Championship Shield.
The short kick off from Rob Fairclough almost caught them out right from the start as Mike Butt took the ball and made good ground, but was tackled ten metres short and the tackles ran out as the Centurions defence got their act together.
When the home side did get into gear they ran in five tries in an eighteen minute period with Harrison Hansen opening the scoring and these were quickly followed by tries from Matty Dawson (2), Bodene Thompson and Craig Hall with Ben Reynolds converting four of them as the Centurions took a twenty-eight point lead.
The Lions hit back just after the half our when a Centurions ball handling error in their own ten metre area presented the Lions with a great opportunity and they grabbed it. The fearless Josh Barlow took three defenders over the try line by the posts to score his first try of the season right in front of the large home following, with Jack Hansen adding the conversion.
Former Lion Liam Hood scored the next Leigh try just before the break when he stole the ball from Rhodri Lloyd to race away and score with Reynolds adding the conversion to that one too.
After a poor first half the Lions started the better again in the second and Lloyd went close but Leigh were penalised near their own line and from the play the ball it went left and Fairclough found a gap to race through and score the Lions second try. Jack Hansen safely converting again.
Four minutes later they were over again when Lloyd found himself all on his own down the right and with no support took on three Centurions defenders to score on his birthday and this time Fairclough added the conversion points from near the touchline.
The home side hit back on fifty-two minutes when Jack Owens set up a second for Hall to score in the left corner and Reynolds again converted. The Lions almost hit back straight away when Macauley Davies escaped a few tackles down the right and came within five metres of scoring a spectacular try.
Peter Matautia added the next Leigh try with fourteen minutes left when Hall and Drew Hutchison combined and again Reynolds converted. However, the Lions that bounced back again as Kyle Shelford chased a kick to score on the left and Jack Hansen again added the conversion, but eight minutes from time Hutchison added the final try of the game for Leigh but no conversion this time.
Ian Rigg reporting from Leigh Sports Village
Centurions: 4. Peter Matautia, 2. Matty Dawson, 3. Ben Crookes, 1. Craig Hall, 18. Jack Owens, 6. Ben Reynolds, 7. Drew Hutchison, 32. Adam Walne, 14. Liam Hood, 13. Harrison Hansen, 11. Kevin Larroyer, 12. Bodene Thompson, 15. Jordan Thompson.
SUBS: 9. Daniel Mortimer, 18. Nathan Mason, 20. Greg Richards, 24. Jack Blagborough.
Lions: 1. Gabriel Fell, 5. Mike Butt, 11. Rhodri Lloyd, 4. George Tyson, 32. Joe Brown, 30 .Rob Fairclough, 7. Jack Hansen, 8. Andy Bracek, 14. Hayden Hansen, 10. Andy Thornley, 35. Macauley Davies, 17. Kyle Shelford, 25. Will Hope.