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18 March 2019

Swinton Lions hosted Featherstone Rovers in round 7 of the Betfred Championship, and it was the visitors who took away the two-league points following a tough test at Heywood Road.

Swinton Lions were involved in another tough test at Heywood Road against another top side in Featherstone, but it was the Rovers who claimed a 24-12 victory. 

Featherstone Rovers came away from Heywood Road with the two points but they were made to fight all the way to earn them. The game was subject to a pitch inspection as there was standing water on it all day on Saturday but some heroics from the ground staff ensured that the game went ahead and the crowd were treated to some good end to end play.

Rovers made a good start and James Harrison almost opened their account on five minutes but some good defence from Chris Hankinson stopped him short of the line. Then from a penalty a few minutes later James Lockwood knocked on just ten metres short but it was the Lions who went ahead when some good play near the line and a short pass saw Gavin Bennion go over by the posts and Oscar Thomas converted.

Thomas then added a penalty goal on fifteen minutes when Rovers were pinned for holding down but Jack Bussey hit back with a try for the visitors after a good pass from Ben Reynolds and the try provider added the conversion. Lewis Hatton was put on report on twenty-one minutes for a late tackle on Watson Boas.

Ashton Golding then put Rovers ahead six minutes later when John Davies kept the ball alive and the full back went in on the left with Reynolds again converting and then the Lions were made to pay again when Rovers forced a goal line drop out and from the pressure Reynolds chipped the Lions defence for Bussey to score his second and this again was converted. The Lions finished the half strongly but Billy Brickhill lost the ball near the line and the chance went begging.

The second half started with the Lions on the attack again but Luke Briscoe and Liam Paisley ended up exchanging blows and were sent to the bin to cool their heels and these two were quickly followed by Josh Hardcastle who also got ten minutes for striking in the tackle.

The Lions made the extra man pay when a good passing movement saw Hankinson send Matty Ashton over in the right corner for the try but the conversion from Thomas fell just short of the mark. Both sides again traded attacks and Briscoe and Ashton both went close for their sides but Rovers were having more chances but the Lions defence was holding up strong.

Jack Ormondroyd scored what turned out to be the decisive try with ten minutes left when he collected a short pass to dive over under the posts and Reynolds again made no mistake with the kick and in the final ten minutes the Lions tried hard to break down the Rovers defence and in the final minute Cameron King was sent to the sin bin when he tripped Ashton who was in full flow for the try line but time ran out with the Lions camped on the Rovers line.

Ian Rigg reporting from Heywood Road. 


Lions: Hansen, Butt, Hankinson, Forsyth, Ashton, Thomas, Smith, Benin, Waterworth, Hatton, Paisley, Halton, Shelford.

Subs: Brickhill, P.Jones, Acton, Fairclough/.

Tries: Bennion (10′), Ashton (51′)

Goals: Thomas 2/3

Sin-Bin: Paisley (45′)

On Report: Hatton (21′)

Rovers: Golding, Briscoe, Harrison, Hardcastle, Render, Reynolds, Boas, D.Smith, King, Bussey, Davies, C.Smith, Lockwood.

Subs: Day, Cooper, Wheeldon, Ormondroyd

Tries: Bussey (19,31), Golding(27), Ormondroyd (70)

Goals: Reynolds 4/4

Sin-Bin: Briscoe (45′), Hardcastle (50′), King (79′)

HT: 8-18 FT: 24-12Half-Time: 8-18

Referee: Mike Mannifield

Attendance: 923

Picture credit: Pete Green


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