Swinton Lions v Rochdale Hornets
Sunday 3rd June 2018, 15:00pm
Championship - Round: 2
Stats over last 8 encounters
HORNETS CLAIM DERBY REVENGE
Rochdale Hornets climbed off the bottom of the table with a 25-18 victory over Swinton Lions at Heywood Road on Sunday.
It was the perfect revenge for their Summer Bash defeat at the hands of their local rivals just one week earlier, as a number of senior players returned to help them to victory.
Gary Middlehurst, Toby Adamson, Luke Adamson and Ben Moores all returned from injury, while Jack Fox made his debut at centre after joining the club on a trial basis.
A late flurry from the hosts had Hornets worried in the dying stages of the game, but a Tyler Whittaker field goal gave the visitors some breathing space.
The halfback also kicked four goals, and was brilliant in the victory as he led his side around the field and finished sets well with the boot.
Jonah Cunningham gave his best performance in a Rochdale shirt, playing a pivotal role coming off the bench at hooker to compliment the returning Moores.
Although there were some standout individual efforts, it was a true team performance as Alan Kilshaw’s side showed a huge amount of guts to bounce back from last week’s disappointing defeat.
It took 13 minutes for the away side to break the deadlock, as a Middlehurst offload went to ground and was scooped up by Whittaker, who broke through the middle and sent Danny Yates over in support.
From the kick-off, Lewis Hatton spilled the first possession of the set and his side were punished, as the ball was put through hands with Rhodri Lloyd eventually crossing.
It was then Swinton’s turn to knock on at the restart, as Middlehurst made the most of the opportunity that error presented by spinning over from close range.
Half an hour into the game Rob Massam gave Hornets a 14 point cushion with an individual effort, as he ran from dummy half and found the line with a low drive despite the attentions of three Lions defenders.
With eight minutes to go in the first period, Josh Barlow was sent to the sin bin for running into a melee following a late shot from Pat Moran.
The half came to an end without any further scores, as the visitors took an 18-4 lead into the break.
Six minutes into the second half, Hornets scored the try of the game as a Mike Butt knock on gave them a set in a dangerous position, which ended in Deon Cross rounding off a brilliant flowing move by racing through a gaping hole on the left edge.
The hosts’ response came from Chris Hankinson, as he found some space out wide after three sets in a row on the Rochdale line.
On 70 minutes Whittaker missed a penalty goal, and the fact it didn’t go out of the field of play proved costly as Swinton went up the opposite end of the field to score.
Straight from a scrum George Tyson chased down a kick, but was hauled down just short of the try line by Richard Lepori, only for Lloyd to collect his second as he scored a walk-in effort on the next play with the defence still retreating.
That set up a tense finish, but the home side were a man down for the final four minutes when Barlow was red carded for dissent.
Whittaker’s field goal kept Swinton at arm’s length, as some desperate defence was final broken when Hankinson touched down his own kick which had collided with the post.
Hornets had a seven point lead with just one minute left on the clock, and they managed to see out the contest and pick up a vital two points.
LIONS: Fell, Butt, Hankinson, Lloyd, Tyson, Billsborough, J. Hansen, Bracek, H. Hansen, Austin, Thornley, Paisley, Hamlin. Subs: Barlow, Shelford, Morrall, Gallagher.
Tries: Lloyd (15, 73), Hankinson (55, 79) Goals: Hankinson 1/3, J. Hansen 0/1
HORNETS: Kay, Lepori, Fox, Cross, Massam, Whittaker, Yates, Taira, Moores, Middlehurst, T. Adamson, Mitchell, Allen. Subs: Cunningham, Hatton, Moran, L. Adamson.
Tries: Yates (13), Middlehurst (19), Massam (28), Cross (46) Goals: Whittaker 4/5 Field goal: Whittaker (78)