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17 August 2018

Swinton Lions host Sheffield Eagles in the second round of the Betfred Championship Shield.

Swinton Lions welcome Sheffield Eagles to Heywood Road in the second round of the Championship Shield.

Following a crushing 40-7 defeat at the hands of Dewsbury Rams last week, the Lions have it all to do the remaining six fixtures of the season.

The Eagles were comfortably beaten away to Leigh Centurions last week which caused them to slip down to sixth place in the Shield table, just six points ahead of the Lions.

A Swinton victory over Sheffield could reduce the gap between the two sides to just four points with 5 games to play, whereas defeat could edge Swinton closer to the drop should Dewsbury and Barrow also pick up wins, cutting the Lions adrift with Rochdale on 8 points at the bottom of the table.


LIONS: Sheffield (H), Rochdale (H), Leigh (A), Barrow (A), Featherstone (H), Batley (A)

EAGLES: Swinton (A), Dewsbury (H), Featherstone (H), Batley (A), Barrow (H), Rochdale (H)




Sheffield Eagles 18-29 Swinton Lions

A great performance in the hot Sheffield sunshine saw the Lions pull off a stunning victory to move them back off the foot of the table.

Stuart Littler welcomed back playmaker Josh Woods on dual-registration from Wigan as hooker Josh Ganson and winger Joe Brown made impressive debuts, coming in for the injured Luke Waterworth and Ilias Bergal.

The Eagles took the lead in the sixth minute when Jack Ashworth made the most of an overlap to score on the left and Cory Aston added the conversion points. Swinton then hit back on eighteen minutes, when they forced a goal-line drop-out. From the kick they put pressure on the line and it was a precision slip pass from Woods that sent Rhodri Lloyd in for a try by the posts as Chris Hankinson added the conversion to level the scores.

Menzie Yere rolled back the years on twenty-three minutes when he broke down the middle to feed the supporting Mark Aston who scored under the posts and the try scorer also added the conversion.

The Lions were not in the mood for lying down and some great tactical kicking by Woods on the 4G pitch kept forcing Eagles back deep in their own half. This would eventually pay off when the Lions got a penalty for foul play on Jack Hansen and from the penalty pressure former Eagle George Tyson scored by the posts, Hankinson landing the conversion.

There were more chances before the break and Liam Paisley had a try disallowed for a knock on in the build-up and then Eagles had one cancelled out as they dropped the ball over the try line. But it was the Lions who looked likely to score in the final two minutes of the half with Woods chipping the defence, but Mike Butt couldn’t collect the bounce. Woods then had a shot at drop goal as the half time hooter sounded but the ball went wide.

Swinton made a dream start in the second half as the Eagles defence was wilting in the heat and Butt scored the next try on forty-five minutes after a nice inside pass from Hayden Hansen, taking the Lions winger past the hundred and fifty point mark in his Lions career. The in-form Hankinson added the extras.

Four minutes later they were in again when pressure on the line saw Lloyd put in a lovely short kick for the line between the posts. Former Eagle Will Hope won the foot race to score and Hankinson again was faultless with the boot.

The Eagles came back again following a handling error by Tyson near his own line at a scrum with Jake Spedding going over by the posts and Aston converting to put them within six points. This seemed to give the home side a boost as they went back on the attack but a superb tackle by Butt on Ryan Millar stopped the winger from scoring in the corner just knocking him over the side line.

After this it was nearly all Lions attacks as Sheffield looked as though they had accepted defeat and Woods slotted over a one pointer with twelve minutes left.

Tyson almost scored his second with four minutes left after some good work by his winger Brown, but he could not hold the pass. However he did make up for his earlier handing error to make the game safe, scoring a touchline hugging try two minutes from time Hankinson could not convert this one but the job was done, victory was in the bag for the first time since 2016 against Sheffield which was celebrated by the large following of Lions fans.

Ian Rigg reporting from The Olympic Legacy Park, 10/06/18



Stuart Littler spoke to LionsTV’s Colin James after his side’s defeat to Dewsbury Rams at Tetley’s Stadium. 

“In the first half, I thought we got into a battle at 7 points to 6. We were probably not as composed as I would have liked with the ball as we completed 58%. We spoke about playing the percentages, picking our completion rate up, kicking well and get on the back of it for field position.

“We came out in the second half and I think we had some really dishonest actions. I pride myself on honesty, I’ve said time and time again. I’ve praised the boys for turning up and giving everything they’ve got and I just think that’s they worst performance we’ve had all season in the second half in the biggest game. There is jobs on the line, careers on the line and we might as well have just melted.

“Obviously Barrow have won, they move on to seven points with Dewsbury. Sheffield are the ones to aim at who are 6 points in front of us, three wins ahead. Our points difference is no good today after a performance like that. We’ve got to fight until we can’t fight but I need to see more than that because at some point we’ll need to win every match or rely on other people to win.

“I keep telling the boys and re-enforcing it with videos and Powerpoints what we need. Like I said I never call out my boys for everything we get, but today I think we let ourselves down and I take on the chin myself too. I thought we had a great travelling set of fans again and we basically kicked them in the teeth.”


Will Hope, Craig Mullen and Macauley Davies are still unavailable due to injuries. Paul Wood is also not available for selection this week will return for next week’s clash against Rochdale Hornets. Josh Woods is back again on dual-registration from Wigan Warriors and Aaron Hall returns to the match-day squad.

LIONS SQUAD TO FACE EAGLES: Ben AustinJosh Barlow, Andy Bracek, Joe Brown, Mike Butt, Rob Fairclough, Gabe Fell, Josh Ganson, Hayden Hansen, Jack Hansen, Paddy Jones, Rhodri Lloyd, Kyle Shelford, Andy Thornley, George Tyson, Luke Waterworth, Josh Woods, Chris Worrall.




REFEREE: M. Rossleigh  TOUCH JUDGES: G. Melling, C. Astbury

KICK-OFF: Sunday 19th August, 15:00 BST

VENUE: Heywood Road, Sale, M33 3WB

TICKETS: Adults £18, Concessions £13, Kids go FREE


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