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06 May 2018
Championship leaders Toronto Wolfpack took the spoils in the Lions’ historic first trip on Canadian soil.
Toronto Wolfpack 62-14 Swinton Lions
It was another historic day in the glittering history of the Lions as they made their first ever trip to another continent to take on the high flying Wolfpack in Canada.
Over one hundred Lions fans made the trip and had a fantastic time, despite the scoreline with many with tales to tell on their return.
Following the game being switched from their normal home at The Lamport Stadium, the Wolfpack provided transport to move the fans one hour up the road to Fletchers Field and they were treated to a ride on a School Bus of which a fleet of them turned up to ferry the fans from downtown.
The ground itself was located in a rural area north of Toronto and the ground comprised of a club house and a large open metal stand down one side and trees down the other but nearly three thousand people turned to watch the game.
The Lions went ahead in the third minute when Chris Hankinson kicked a penalty from close range but Wolfpack hit back quickly when Liam Kay dived in at the corner but Ryan Brierley could not convert. This was followed quickly by another try four minutes later when Chase Stanley scored and this time the conversion was landed.
Swinton were playing some good rugby and got their reward on fifteen minutes, Rhodri Lloyd went close and from the play the ball Luke Waterworth – playing his fiftieth game for the Lions – sent Ben Austin in by the posts and Hankinson made no mistake with the conversion. Wolfpack hit back with two more tries from Gareth O’Brien and Olsi Krasniqi with Brierley adding both conversions to give them a fourteen point lead at the break.
Toronto started the second half the way they had finished the first as the home side cut loose with Kay scoring his second just after the restart. O’Brien exploited a huge gap to score by the posts with the conversion being added.
Stuart Littler rotated his players and this saw the return of Tommy Gallagher in a playing shirt and he held up well on the time he was on the field but Wolfpack were too strong and the humidity was also taking its toll with Nick Rawsthorne going over next after a good passing movement. This was quickly followed by a Blake Wallace effort after the Lions tried a short kick off which went straight to Wolfpack arms and the same player added a second on the hour.
The Lions then hit back with a little piece of their own magic when Jack Hansen put a high kick to the right corner and Mike Butt gathered to dive over in the corner with Hankinson adding a nice conversion from the touchline.
Brierley showed his class chipping over the top and chasing his kick to score, then another short kick off went wrong as Cory Paterson caught the ball and sent Kay on a sixty metre run to complete his hat-trick. There were two more tries for the home side in the final five minutes when former Leigh pair Andrew Dixon and Adam Higson both scored to send the majority of the crowd home happy.
Ian Rigg reporting from Fletcher’s Field, Markham
Lions: Fell, Butt, Hankinson, Tyson, Bergal, Billsborough, J.Hansen, Austin, Waterworth, Shelford, Thornley, Lloyd, Hope. SUBS: H.Hansen, Worrall, Gallagher, Nicholson.
Tries: Austin (15), Butt (66)
Goals: Hankinson 3/3
Wolfpack: O’Brien, Higson, Stanley, Rawsthorne, Kay, McCrone, Brierley, Emmitt, Beswick, Lussick, Paterson, Bussey, Sidlow. SUBS: Hopkins, Wallace, Krasniqi, Dixon.
Tries: Kay (5,43,70), Stanley (9), O’Brien (22,48), Krasniqi (26), Rawsthorne (50), Wallace (53,60), Dixon (76), Higson (80).
Goals: Brierley 7/12
Referee: Tom Grant Attendance: 2917 HT: 22-8 Pens: 6-8