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28 January 2019

Swinton Lions concluded their pre-season fixtures with 22-18 victory over rivals Oldham RLFC in a brutal encounter at Heywood Road.


Swinton Lions scored four tries to secure another win in the pre-season over strong League One outfit Oldham RLFC.

The Lions made it two wins from three in their warm up games for the new season, but form-team Oldham gave them a stern test on a very cold day.

The home side went into the lead after only two minutes. Rob Fairclough chipped over the defence and the ball hit on rushing winger Lee Kershaw and bounced back off his knee straight into the path of the half-back, who was following up to collect the ball and dive over to score, with Oscar Thomas putting the conversion attempt wide. Oldham hit back five minutes later when Dave Hewitt sent a nice kick towards the line and Ritchie Hawkyard raced onto it to score under the posts with Hewitt adding the conversion to give his side the lead.

Fairclough turned provider for the second try when on twenty-one minutes he sent a measured kick towards the right corner and the ball bounced up nicely for Matty Ashton to collect and score with Thomas converting this one. Scott Naylor’s side hit back again eight minutes from the break when some good passing saw Kershaw cross in the left corner but the angle was too difficult for Hewitt to add the conversion and the Lions finished the half strongly but for a loose pass they could have scored again.


Oldham started strongly in the second half and some good pressure on the line saw Scott Law being held up on the fifth tackle and the on the last tackle they forced a goal line drop out. Fairclough was very cheeky with this when he noticed there was no Oldham player directly in front of him at the kick, and he side footed the ball ten metres and chased and collected it to race forty metres down field before being tackled by Law, who held him down and gave away the penalty. From this, Oldham were made to pay from the kick to touch as the ball moved swiftly along the line and Fairclough found Thomas who sold the dummy to the Oldham defence and raced over for the try to the left of the posts and then he converted his own try.

It was then end to end for a while as both teams tried to gain some advantage and it was Oldham who scored again when Zak McComb went over but Adam Brook was unable to convert. Try of the match came with ten minutes left when Fairclough and Rhodri Lloyd combined to send Jack Hansen in under the posts and Thomas again converted to put the Lions in command but Oldham would not lie down and some good pressure and passing saw Kyran Johnson cross on the right but again Brook could not add the conversion in the strong wind. With just over thirty seconds left on the clock a fight broke out between the two sides and Gareth Owen was sent to the sin bin for dissent when he back-chatted the referee and shortly afterwards the final hooter sounded.

Ian Rigg reporting from Heywood Road.


GAMESTAR: Rob Fairclough – The Lions scrum half was everywhere, scoring the first try and helping to create the last one, too.

GAMEBREAKER: The try by Jack Hansen ten minutes from time created by Rhodri Lloyd.


Lions: Hansen, Butt, Lloyd, Ashton, Gray, Thomas, Fairclough, Bennion, Waterworth, Hatton, Halton, A.Jones, Hope.

Subs: Brickhill, Hall, P.Jones, Kenya, Worrall, Austin.

Tries: Fairclough (2), Ashton (21), Thomas (49), Hansen (70)

Goals: Thomas 3/4

Roughyeds: Hawkyard, Bishop, McComb, Holmes, Kershaw, Bowman, Hewitt, Joy, Owen, Spencer, Whittel, Calland, Bent.

Subs: Wilkinson, Greenwood, Law, Maders, Brook, Nelmes, Johnson.

Tries: Hawkyard (7), Kershaw (32), McComb (65)

Goals: Hewitt 1/2, Brook 0/2

FT: 22-18 HT: 10-10

Referee: Marcus Griffiths

Attendance: 457

Photo credits: Pete Green



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