Swinton Lions secured their first win of the 2018 season with an impressive 38-12 victory over Rochdale Hornets.
Rochdale Hornets 12-38 Swinton Lions
A powerful second half by the Lions gave them their first victory of the season over their local rivals Rochdale Hornets and lifted them off bottom spot in the table.
The Lions started brightly and Josh Woods playing on dual registration from Wigan Warriors was held up over the line and then they forced a goal line drop out. From this they took the lead on nine minutes when Luke Waterworth darted over from acting half back and Chris Hankinson added the conversion from close range.
Rochdale hit back straight from the restart when Jack Hansen fumbled the kick-off and from the scrum some good ball handling saw Richard Lepori go over in the right corner with Tyler Whittaker adding the conversion from the touchline.
The middle part of the half was very scrappy with both teams having chances but the ball going to ground nearly every time until Andy Thornley and Will Hope combined in the build up to send George Tyson over for the try, Hankinson converting his second kick five minutes before the break.
Both coaches won’t have been happy with their completion rate in the first half and it was the Lions again who scored first when a lovely slip pass from Josh Barlow, who found Hope to score on the right. Hankinson looking calm with the boot converted again.
Woods who was controlling the game from the middle then kicked a forty-twenty and from the scrum Tyson scored his second via the video referee after Rhodri Lloyd had gone close and Hankinson again converted.
It was now all Swinton and Tyson forced a goal line drop out before Gabriel Fell was held up as he tried to score. There was a rare Hornets attack down the left on fifty-one minutes but Declan Kay knocked on and this put the Lions back on the attack. Liam Paisley then intercepted near his own line only to be grounded by Kay about ten metres from the try line.
However from the play the ball, the ball was swung left and Kay tried to intercept only to knock it forward straight into the arms of Woods and he went over to score on the left with Hankinson again adding the conversion.
The Hornets then had another attack but again the Lions defence stood strong before Billy Brickhill nearly scored under the posts only to be held up. During the build-up to this there was in incident in back play and there was an injury to Lewis Hatton which went on report. Sensing further tries, Liam Paisley then added the Lions’ sixth try when Jack Hansen sent out a slight of hand pass for the forward to race over on the right and again Hankinson added the extras.
There was then a high shot on Tyson as he tried to go over for his hat-trick and this incident also went on report with Hankinson kicking his seventh goal of the afternoon.
The Hornets who finally got past the Lions stubborn defence with seven minutes left for a consolation try when Jonah Cunningham darted over and Whittaker added his second conversion, but the Lions held on for a good victory against the team they will play again next weekend.
Ian Rigg reporting from Bloomfield Road
HORNETS:Declan Kay, Richard Lepori , Earl Hurst, Deon Cross, Rob Massam, Tyler Whittaker, Danny Yates, Joe Taira, Billy Brickhill, Lewis Hatton, Seta Talatoka, Lee Mitchell, Dave Allen.
SUBS: Jonah Cunningham, Pat Moran, Matty Hadden, Jordan Syme.