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16 March 2020

Swinton Lions put in an impressive first half performance before falling to Widnes Vikings in the fifth round of the Coral Challenge Cup.

Widnes Vikings 32-16 Swinton Lions

The Lions Challenge Cup hopes ended in the Cheshire sunshine as the Widnes Vikings capitalised on Lions handling errors in the second half to book their place in the next round.

Vikings took an early lead when Matty Smith sent out a nice pass to the right to send Jake Spedding away to score in the fourth minute and Jack Owens added the conversion.

The Lions hit back within five minutes when a break and pass from Rob Fairclough down the left saw Mike Butt link up to score in the corner, but Jack Hansen playing his one hundredth career game couldn’t add the conversion from the touchline.

Swinton then took the lead on seventeen minutes when some good pressure on the line saw Luke Waterworth send out a nice short pass for Lewis Hatton to crash over under the posts ,with Hansen adding the conversion to this one.

Vikings came strong and had some good pressure on the line and it took a gang tackle from the Lions defence to stop Jack Johnson scoring in the left corner and then on the next Vikings attack it took an interception by Fairclough to bring it to a halt. Fairclough was involved again a few minutes later when he broke down another Vikings attack but instead of trying to clear his line he pass the ball to Will Hope who was not expecting the pass and the ball went to ground.

Eventually all the Vikings pressure paid dividends when Johnson finally got over on the left  but Owens could not convert this one and the scores were level. In the final minute of the half the Lions were unlucky not to score when Brandon Wood and then Fairclough went close but could not get over the line.

Both sides were trading attacks from end to end early in the second half until eventually Kenny Baker broke through to score for the Vikings by the posts on fifty-six minutes. Owens managed to miss the conversion but he did add a penalty goal three minutes later when the Lions were caught offside under their own posts.

Vikings went further ahead on sixty-three minutes when a rare ball handling error by Butt put them close to the Lions line and eventually MacGraff Leuluai crashed over for the try on the left. Owens converted to give them a twelve point lead but the Lions soon bounced back when Rhodri Lloyd made a break down the right to feed the supporting Butt, who scored by the posts and Hansen converted to cut the deficit.

Another handling error this time a one-on-one ball steal on Ben Morris set up a movement for Deon Cross to score in the corner and Owens converted this one.

With just minutes left the Lions had one final attack and Hatton was held up over the try line by the posts on the last tackle but the Vikings scored another try in the final seconds that flattered the score line when Joe Lyons scored and Owens converted to send his side into the hat for the next round draw.

Ian Rigg reporting from DCBL Stadium



Vikings: Lyons, Johnson, Edge, Spedding, Cross, Owens, Smith, T,Chapelhow, Hulme, Moran, Wilde, Grady, Baker. Subs: Wood, J.Chapelhow, Leuluai, Roby

Tries: Spedding (4), Johnson (35), Baker (56), Leuluai (63),Cross (75), Lyons (80).

Goals: Owens  4/7

Lions: Butt, Lepori, Grant, Cox, Wood, Hansen, Fairclough, Bennion, Waterworth, Hatton, Lloyd, Halton, Hope. Subs: Brickhill, Brogan, Thomas, Morris.

Tries: Butt (9,69), Hatton (17)

Goals: Hansen 2/3

Referee: Tom Grant     Pens: 6-5     Half-Time: 10-10      Att: 1527


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