SWINTON LIONS V BATLEY BULLDOGS – PREVIEW
18 February 2018
The Lions face Batley Bulldogs in Round 3 of the Championship at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Swinton travel a short distance to the AJ Bell Stadium, a temporary host for the round 3 Championship fixture between the Lions and Batley Bulldogs, as improvements and drainage are made to the Heywood Road pitch.
Following bad weather across the region in the lead up to last weekend’s home fixture against Rochdale Hornets, the playing surface was deemed unsuitable and match postponed to a later date to be announced in due course.
Batley also play only their second game of the season after also falling foul to issues with the pitch at Crown Oil Arena, where they were due to face Rochdale Hornets on the opening weekend of the season. This weekend’s visitors suffered defeat last week as Leigh Centurions ran a six-try victory at a cold Leigh Sports Village, Alex Rowe scoring Batley’s sole try from close range just before half-time.
The Lions continue their quest for their first two points of the season with a tough run of fixtures coming up in the Championship, including hosting Canadian side Toronto Wolfpack, a trip to Yorkshire to face Featherstone Rovers before returning to Heywood Road to host London Broncos.
LAST TIME OUT (HOME FIXTURE)
Sunday 11th June 2017
Swinton Lions 12– 26 Batley Bulldogs
The Bulldogs claimed the points in a comfortable victory over the Lions in an end-to-end but scrappy game.
The early stages were fairly even with both defences on top. The Lions had a try cancelled out on ten minutes for a forward pass close to the line but it was Shaun Ainscough who put his side ahead seven minutes later, when a kick to the corner by Pat Walker was fumbled by the Lions defence and the winger pounced in the corner with Walker converting. The Lions then had another try cancelled out by the officials when Rob Lever was judged offside from an Atkin kick.
The Bulldogs then spent ten minutes camped on the Lions line, with chance after chance threatening the Lions but either dropped ball or good defence prevented them. But Swinton could only hang on for so long before Brad Day strode through a huge gap to score by the posts, with Walker adding the extras. In the dying seconds before the half time hooter, Ainscough made a good break to go close and Alistair Leak darted over for the try from the play the ball near the line but Walker could not convert this one.
Swinton started brightly in the second half but lost Grant Gore to injury within a minute of the restart. Unfazed by the injury they did get over for their first try three minutes later when Atkin sent Anthony Bate over by the posts with the former converting his kick.
The Lions were throwing everything at the Bulldogs line but making errors with the ball at crucial times. The visitors went further ahead when Danny Cowling scored on the left and Walker converting again but the final nail in the coffin came on sixty-three minutes, when Sam Smeaton intercepted a Lions pass to race eighty metres and score at the other end but this went unconverted.
The Lions final cracked the Bulldogs defence for a second time with eight minutes left when Oliver Davies broke through and fed the supporting Andy Bracek who scored under the posts with Ben White converting. Bate and Tom Lillycrop were then sent to the sin bin for a touch of handbags with three minutes left and James Harrison had a try disallowed in the final minute for a forward pass as the Bulldogs took the spoils.
Ian Rigg reporting at Heywood Road.
Stuart Littler names an unchanged Lions squad from last week’s postponed match against Rochdale Hornets.
Macauley Davies, Liam Forsyth, Josh Woods and Samy Kibula remain in the squad on dual-registration from Wigan Warriors
Batley make once change to their squad following last week’s defeat to Leigh Centurions as James Harrison is replaced by Joe Chandler.
LIONS SQUAD TO FACE BULLDOGS: Ansell, Barlow, Bennion, Bracek, Butt, Davies, Fell, Forsyth, Hankinson, H Hansen, J hansen, Kibula Lloyd, Nicholson, Sarsfield, Shelford, Taylor, Waterworth, Woods
BULLDOGS SQUAD TO FACE LIONS: Aincough, Brambani, Brown, Chandler, Cowling, Crookes, Davey, Day, Galbraith, Gledhill, Hemingway, Holland, Leak, Manning, Reittie, Rowe, Scott, Walker, Ward
REFEREE: Mr G Hewer TOUCH JUDGES: Mr A Tolley, Mr J Stearne
VENUE: AJ Bell Stadium, 1 Stadium Way, Eccles, Salford, M30 7EY