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29 March 2018

The Lions welcome Leigh Centurions to Heywood Road in Round 8 of the Betfred Championship.

Swinton Lions welcome Leigh Centurions to Heywood Road in Round 8 of the Betfred Championship. 

Stuart Littler’s team are still striving for their first win of the 2018 season and currently sit bottom of the league. After showing promise at the start of Sunday’s defeat to London, despite defeat there are some signs showing that a corner has been turned ahead of a busy Easter period.

Following Leigh’s visit on Good Friday, the Lions travel to Cumbria to face Barrow Raiders on Monday and host Sheffield Eagles, the following week, who also seek their first win of 2018.

Leigh Centurions currently sit in eighth in the Championship table after a disappointing start. Widely expected to be amongst the top sides vying for promotion from the off, the Centurions have five defeats to their name already and can’t afford to slip up too much before the end of the regular season. A narrow victory against Workington in the Challenge Cup and a impressive league win over Dewsbury seem to have put Leigh back on track.


Swinton Lions 6-48 Leigh Centurions 

The Centurions continue their march at the top of the league having completed a double over the Lions which saw the tempers boil over early in the second half and three players saw red and two saw yellow in the same incident.

The visitors opened the scoring on seven minutes when Lee Smith sent Tom Armstrong over on the right but Martyn Ridyard could not convert it. The Lions did hit back to take the lead seven minutes later when Rhodri Lloyd and Connor Dwyer combined to send Anthony Nicholson in for the try by the posts with Chris Atkin converting. Ben White then went close for the Lions before Jonny Pownall thought he had scored, but was brought back for a forward pass.

The Lions then had another good chance when they got a penalty when Gareth Hock was judged to have dumped Stephen Nash in the tackle and from the penalty Mike Butt went close only to be stopped by Adam Higson.

Leigh then ran in three tries in a ten minute period towards the end of the half when Lee Smith, Pownall and Richard Whiting all crossed on the left and Ridyard added two conversions to put them in a comfortable position and they added another Smith try in the dying seconds of the half after a nice pass from Reynolds and Ridyard added the conversion via deflection off the posts as the half time hooter sounded.

I am not quite sure what both sides had in their half time brew but whatever it was it certainly warmed up the game. Five minutes into the second period Higson was tackled by Butt and the ball went loose. Some pushing and shoving started which soon erupted into both teams swinging punches for what seemed a couple of minutes. After the officials had separated the teams Hock and Lions substitute Zach Johnson were shown red cards for trading punches and Higson and Butt were both sent to the sin bin for starting it all, but it wasn’t finished there as Josh Barlow who was on the Lions bench was sent off for entering the field to try and break up the fight.

The Lions then had some pressure on the Leigh line before the visitors increased their lead when Ridyard and Dayne Weston added two tries in a five minute spell with both converting. The Lions then had another chance but couldn’t finish it before Reynolds sold a huge dummy to the home defence to score a good try and again this was converted.

Jake Emmitt and Dan Fleming were both shown yellow cards for fighting with three minutes left and Centurions made the most of the penalty when new signing Josh Drinkwater scored out on the right but Reynolds could not add the conversion but it was job done for his side.

Ian Rigg reporting from Heywood Road, 22/05/2016


Lions TV’s Colin James spoke to Stuart Littler following Sunday’s defeat to London Broncos.

“We asked for desire, will to win and questioned people’s desire. The non-negotiable-ables. I thought we got that early on and started the game really well but then we had a poor kick which just changed the flow of the game.

“Then our heads go and they’re down our end and score a try, probably against the run of play and backed it up with a penalty after kick-off. Then we have a period.

“In games at the moment we have a period where we start dropping the ball on play one and start giving penalties away. The pitch gets smaller and we’re playing on a 60m pitch instead of making them come out from their own end. They are making us work for everything we get. We’re not, we’re inviting people down our end and giving penalties away when we’ve got the ball – It’s just criminal.

“We’ve used every excuse their is to use. I need everyone to go home and have a look at themselves in the mirror and have a looked at their mates to see if they are doing 100%. I don’t think we are working on insides so we are switching off. The same play got us five times, which we had seen on video in the week. We’ve got to be smarter and focus. You can’t afford to switch off against a quality side. If you switch off they are gonna burn you, that’s what happened. To be fair the scoreline was disgraceful.

“It’s a challenge time, but a time when you can change. A couple of victories or performances go your way will go a long way to changing your outlook on where you are and what the picture looks like.

“We need a performance, we have to dust ourselves down. People are wounded but we have to fight. We have to show a bit of fight about ourselves. There is a long season ahead. Nothing is decided before Easter. We need to go forward and start moving this club forward.”


Forward Ben Austin misses out through injury but Matt Sarsfield, who has scored three tries for the Lions this season, returns after missing out due to illness last Sunday. Lions’ try scorer against the Broncos, Elliott Caine replaces Gabe FellLiam Forsyth and Macauley Davies return to the Pride on dual-registration from Wigan Warriors.

LIONS SQUAD TO FACE CENTURIONS: Josh Barlow Andy Bracek, Elliott Caine, Macauley Davies, Liam Forsyth, Aaron Hall, Chris Hankinson, Jack Hansen, Hayden Hansen, Will Hope, Rhodri Lloyd, Mark Nicholson, Matt Sarsfield, Kyle Shelford, Conor Taylor, Andy Thornley, George Tyson, Luke Waterworth, Marcus Webb

CENTURIONS SQUAD TO FACE LIONS: Craig Hall, Matty Dawson Jones, Ben Crooks, Peter Mata’utia, Rhys Evans, Drew Hutchison, Paterika Vaivai, Jamie Acton, Bodene Thompson, Harrison Hansen, Liam Hood, Jordan Thompson, Kyle Lovett, Nathan Mason, Greg Richards, Nick Gregson, Ricky Bailey, Jonah Cunningham, Jordan Dezaria.


REFEREE: G. Dolan   TOUCH JUDGES: C. Etchells, T. Jones


VENUE: Heywood Road, Sale, Greater Manchester, M33 3WB

TICKETS: Adults – £18, Concessions – £13,  Juniors – £2


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