Swinton Lions host Barrow Raiders in Round 14 of the Betfred Championship.
Swinton Lions welcome Barrow Raiders to Heywood Road in Round 14 of the Betfred Championship.
The Lions put in an impressive performance at the JF Hornby Stadium in April and were unlucky to come away with a single point as a late, controversial Jamie Dallimore penalty ensured a share of the spoils on a wet and windy day in Cumbria.
Swinton will be well rested from their trip to Canada, but now face what Lions Chairman Andy Mazey described as ‘four cup finals’ in the next 21 days as Stuart Littler’s men play some of their relegation rivals. Following the home fixture against Barrow, the Lions travel to Blackpool to face Rochdale in the Championship showpiece ‘SummerBash’ event before a return to Heywood Road the week after to face the Hornets again in the rearranged Round 2 fixture.
Sunday’s visitors arrive in good form having secured two impressive victories against Batley Bulldogs and Dewsbury Rams, a game in which the Raiders scored 10 tries to take a 58-28 victory. Barrow’s four victories and two draws this season currently give them a six point advantage on the two relegation spots heading into a similar run of games to the Lions against the bottom sides in the league.
The day will also play host to the annual Grand Reunion of many former players to wear the famous Lions shirt. For those who have booked to be at the special dinner reception, arrival is expected between 12:00-12:20 for a prompt 12:30 start.
LAST TIME OUT
Barrow Raiders 16-16 Swinton Lions
The Lions came within three minutes of gaining their first League victory of the season in the Barrow mud but their hopes were dashed when Jamie Dallimore converted a late penalty goal.
A large following of Lions fans braved the damp conditions to travel up to the Lake District but will have been happy with the effort their team put in for them. Andy Bracek and Matt Sarsfield were missing from the team following Friday’s game against Leigh and Mike Butt and Gabe Fell were also unavaialble. In came Wigan players Craig Mullen and Liam Paisley into the squad along with Josh Woods but the latter was recalled by his parent club on Sunday night to play against Hull KR.
The Lions got an ideal start when Mullen put in a nice kick into the in goal area and Liam Forsyth won the race for the touchdown but Chris Hankinson could not convert against the strong breeze. Raiders hit back in the eighteenth minute when a good passing movement ended when Shane Toal scored in the corner and Dallimore slipped as he ran in for his conversion but he still managed to kick it and put his team ahead.
Toal added his second to extend Barrow’s lead on twenty-six minutes when he again finished off a nice move to score in the corner. Dallimore slipped again attempting the conversion but again it sailed between the posts to stretch the lead. Desperate to get back into the game before the half, the Lions hit back nine minutes from the break when Hayden Hansen sent two defenders the wrong way to score on the left and Hankinson converted this to put his side within two points.
From the kick-off Kyle Shelford took the ball forward but was flattened by the Raiders defence with an illegal tackle which saw Dan Toal go on report for a possible shoulder charge but the Lions did finish the half on the attack.
Dallimore stretched the lead for his side four minutes into the second half with a penalty goal for an off the ball tackle The Lions were looking the more likely to score after the break and twice forced goal line drop outs before Hankinson had a try ruled out for what was said to be and obstruction, but the players around him disputed it with the referee Tom Grant.
With the momentum of the game behind them, it looked like the Lions had the game won on sixty five minutes following a Raiders mistake when Brett Carter collected the ball but collided with Shelford. The ball fell loose and was swooped on by Luke Waterworth and he passed it to Hayden Hansen who raced twenty metres in the mud to swallow dive in and score by the posts. Hankinson converted with the wind at his back. However the celebrations wouldn’t last long as the killer blow came in the final few minutes, when an infringement at the play the ball thirty metres out presented Raiders with their penalty and Dallimore converted to level.
Ian Rigg reporting from JF Hornby Stadium, 02/04/18
Second Rower Liam Paisley is set to feature following his loan move from Wigan Warriors earlier this week and fan favourite Josh Barlow returns following his ban. Aaron Hall misses out with knee injury and only returned to light training ahead of Sunday’s clash.
Tommy Gallagher fresh from his second debut for the Lions in Canada drops out of the squad.
LIONS SQUAD TO FACE RAIDERS: Ben Austin, Josh Barlow, Ilias Bergal, Brad Billsborough, Andy Bracek, Mike Butt, Elliott Caine, Gabe Fell, Chris Hankinson, Hayden Hansen, Jack Hansen, Will Hope, Rhodri Lloyd, Liam Paisley, Kyle Shelford, Andy Thornley, George Tyson, Luke Waterworth, Chris Worrall.
RAIDERS SQUAD TO FACE LIONS: TBC
REFEREE: S. Race TOUCH JUDGES: P. Parker, P. Brooke
KICK-OFF: Saturday 20th May, 15:00 BST
VENUE: Heywood Road, Sale, M33 3WB
TICKETS: Available on the gate – Adults £18, Conc £13, Juniors £2