Rochdale Hornets


3rd September 2017, 23:15


Hornets bounce back from last week's loss to see off Swinton Lions, with a brilliant defensive display.

Rochdale Hornets produced a performance to be proud of, as they fought past Swinton Lions to record a 16-8 victory which puts them three points clear of the relegation zone.

Their attack may not have been firing on all cylinders; however their defence was resolute throughout, conceding just one try off the back of repeat sets.

After a poor defensive performance last week in defeat to Oldham, it was a great response from Alan Kilshaw’s men.

It was a victory in tough circumstances, as a number of first team players were missing due to injury and suspension. Add to that the pressure that Hornets had to overcome too, as Swinton and Oldham were lurking just one point behind in the Championship Shield table.

Antony Walker lined up for his 100th appearance, while Josh Crowley and Lewis Foster returned from injury to offset the loss of Jono Smith and Lewis Palfrey.

The game started with Lions forward Andy Bracek being placed on report for a cannonball tackle on Lewis Galbraith, which to the bemusement of the Hornets players went un-penalised.

Up the other end, Chris Hankinson opened the scoring with a penalty goal, before three minutes later Danny Yates made it 2-2 with a conversion of his own.

In last week’s defeat, Rochdale enjoyed a period of dominance without posting any points, and it was déjà vu for the remainder of the first half, as they came up with errors at crucial moments.

Four minutes before the break, Walker’s milestone afternoon was brought to an early end after he suffered a concussion, and the sides went into the break level.

The hosts hit the lead early in the second half and never looked back, as Yates slotted his second penalty of the game, before a great individual effort from Dec Kay saw him cross for the game’s first try on 47 minutes. He skipped across the line straight from a scrum, showing and going before finding his gap and having enough strength to wrestle the ball to ground, with Yates nailing a touchline conversion.

Swinton hit back eight minutes later, as a number of repeat sets on the Hornets line broke their resolve, with Ilias Bergal beating Kevin Penny to score out wide. Hankinson landed a conversion from out wide of his own to make it a two point game.

13 minutes from time a huge hit from Jo Taira saw his opposite number cough up possession on half way, and from the resulting set a stroke of genius from Ryan Maneely re-established Hornets’ eight point lead. He jumped from dummy half, and for a moment looked void of ideas, before pulling off a sumptuous flat pass for Foster to cross untouched from close range.

The lead would have been even greater had the linesman not bizarrely disallowed Chris Riley a try, as the winger hacked a loose ball ahead of himself before pouncing in-goal, only for the official to call a knock-on.

The visitors threw all they could at Hornets in the closing stages, and let a chance go begging when Shaun Robinson knocked on with the try line begging.

Despite their best efforts, Kilshaw’s men stood tall and saw the game out, claiming a crucial two points which could secure their place in the Championship for 2018.

Rochdale Hornets: Dec Kay, Chris Riley, Lewis Galbraith, Jake Eccleston, Kevin Penny, Lewis Foster, Danny Yates, Jo Taira, Ryan Maneely, Lewis Hatton, Josh Crowley, Lee Mitchell, Anthony Walker Subs: Gavin Bennion,  Matthew Hadden, Jordan Case, Jack Holmes

Tries: Kay (47), Foster (67)

Goals: Yates 4/4

Rochdale Hornets Man of the Match: Lee Mitchell – Playing in the back row this week, Mitchell put last week’s performance behind him with an outstanding 80 minute display. He carried the ball with purpose, showing great footwork on occasions, and was busy in defence too.

Swinton Lions: Michael Butt, Shaun Robinson, Chris Hankinson, Rhodri Lloyd, Ilias Bergal, Ben White, Anthony Nicholson, Andrew Bracek, Luke Waterworth, Ben Austin, Adam Jones, Oliver Davies, Josh Barlow Subs: Liam Carberry, Mark Nicholson, Danny Norman, Rob Lever

Tries: Bergal (55)

Goals: Hankinson 2/2

On report: Andy Bracek (3’ cannonball)

Ref: Jack Smith

Pens: 10-8

Attendance: 606