Swinton Lions battled tough, wintry conditions at the LD Nurtition Stadium but their second half comeback wasn’t enough as York City Knights progessed in the Challenge Cup.
York City Knights 26 -12 Swinton Lions
The second beast from the east could not prevent the Lions crashing out of this year’s Challenge Cup when they were defeated by the high flying Knights side. A waterlogged pitch at Bootham Crescent meant that the match was switched to Featherstone Rovers LD Nutrition Stadium where the Lions had run Rovers close the previous week.
The game was the subject of a pitch inspection because of heavy snow in Yorkshire overnight but the ground staff worked wonders to make the pitch playable and the hospitality of Rovers for letting them use the ground. Wakefield Trinity also helped out by providing orange match balls that stood out in the snow.
When the game got underway in the freezing conditions the Knights played down the slope in the first half and were soon on the board when a good passing movement saw Judah Mazvie cross in the right corner for the opening try. Connor Robinson added the conversion from the touchline, but it got worse for the Lions when Ben Cockayne chased a kick through to score under the posts in the ninth minute as Robinson again converted. York’s veteran forward Tim Spears inflicted more pain on the Lions in the twenty third minute, when he also scored by the posts and Robinson again added another conversion and Stuart Littler’s side had a mountain to climb.
George Tyson put the Lions on the board eight minutes before the break when he powered over on the left and Chris Hankinson added the conversion. However the joy was short-lived as Robinson then added a penalty goal from ten metres out to stretch the lead but with seconds left in the half. Hankinson converted a penalty to bring the Lions back, but there was still atwelve points defecit.
Swinton needed a good start to the second half and they got it when a York defender knocked on from the kick off and it was picked up by one of his team mates stood in an offside position. From the penalty the Lions put pressure on the line and won an extra set of six when a Knights player knocked the ball down but their defence held strong despite so good attack.
Jack Hansen made a good break through the defence just before the hour and Rhodri Lloyd was on hand to take the pass and score near the right corner but Hankinson could not convert. The Lions were having a much better second half playing down the slope but some good defence by the Knights and some poor ball handling prevented them from scoring further points.
James Ford’s side cemented the victory with five minutes left when Mazvie scored in the right corner after chasing a kick that the Lions defence could not hack dead. This was a couple of minutes after Robinson had kicked another penalty goal and left the Lions with too much to do in the final few minutes.