Swinton Lions 23-22 Rochdale Hornets
Monday 17th April 2017, 15:00pm
Championship - Round: 11
Mike Butt, Connor Dwyer, Andy Bracek,
Chris Atkin 5,
Lewis Gailbraith, Rob Massam 2, Samir Tahraoui,
Lewis Palfrey 3,
HEARTBREAK FOR HORNETS
By Sean Hayes
The Easter period gave Rochdale Hornets a great chance to resurrect their season, however a lack of composure in a fiery derby encounter saw their losing run continue in heart-breaking fashion.
Chris Atkin’s drop-goal was the difference on the scoreboard, but a combination of errors, soft penalties and missed goal kicks result in their sixth defeats in all competitions.
It’s safe to say that both sides headed into this contest low on confidence, as the Lions hadn’t won since round two and the Hornets had last picked up two points away to Featherstone Rovers.
The hosts were brimming with confidence early in the contest though as they scored inside the first minute with the first set of the game, as Rochdale attempted a short kick off which they couldn’t regather.
Up the other end of the field Grant Gore’s towering bomb was spilled by Miles Greenwood and Mike Butt was on hand to scoop up possession and dive over in the corner, with Atkin converting for a 6-0 lead.
Six became 10 within 14 minutes of the first half as Atkin added a pair of penalty goals, the first from a lifting tackle which was placed on report and the second coming when Rochdale were in possession.
In between penalties the visitors had their first chance as Lewis Palfrey found some space and drew the defender, but Josh Crowley knocked on with the try line in sight.
Straight from the restart Josh Barlow dropped the ball and presented Hornets with the perfect chance to respond, and they took full advantage as Danny Yates used Jono Smith as a decoy before feeding Lewis Galbraith with a delayed pass as the centre forced his way over.
Palfrey made it a four point game with the conversion before three minutes later edging his side within two points, as high tackles on Samir Tahraoui and Gary Middlehurst gave him an easy shot at goal from 10 metres out.
Smith left the field with an injury after making a cover tackle from a 20 metre restart before his replacement Lee Mitchell forced a knock on to end the Lions’ chances of scoring another try.
With four minutes of the first period remaining a high tackle on Mitchell, who was making his third appearance on dual-registration from Warrington Wolves, gave the visitors a chance to attack and they were over in the corner.
Galbraith chimed into the line again to find a half-break and offload to Chris Riley before he fed Rob Massam in the corner, only for the final pass to be pulled back for offside to bring their celebrations to an abrupt end.
They had a chance to go into the sheds level on the hooter as Palfrey attempted a penalty goal from just inside the 40, however it was wide and they trailed 10-8 at the break.
The first chance of the second half came the way of Rochdale as Middlehurst’s offload sent Galbraith racing down the left edge with Massam eventually hauled down short of the try line.
If the ball had been put through hands they would have been in for a try in the opposite corner, but Palfrey put the ball to ground and the chance went begging.
There was a lengthy stoppage as Jack Murphy was stretchered from the field, and soon after Hornets hit the lead off the back of a penalty as Galbraith somehow offloaded to Massam under pressure from a number of defenders, with the wide man touching down.
Anthony Nicholson then left the field on a stretcher with Jordan Hand sin binned for the incident, and when play eventually resumed the Lions pounced and regained the lead.
Rhodri Llyod broke down the left edge to expose some poor Rochdale defence before Connor Dwyer went over in support, with the players coming together behind the sticks.
Off the back of a penalty they extended that lead as Andy Bracek proved too strong from close range, before he was sin binned for trading blows with Jo Taira, as the Hornets forward was shown a red card.
There was still life in the contest despite the away side trailing by 10 points as Massam crossed for a second from Crowley’s cut-out ball, however Palfrey was off target again with the conversion attempt.
The scores were level with just nine minutes to play as Samir Tahraoui benefitted from Ben Moores’ offload, and an incident in the act of scoring gave them a chance of an eight point try.
It was another chance spurned though as the initial conversion was missed, although the penalty in front set up a tense finish and brought the score to 22-apiece.
Hornets managed to work their way up the other end of the field and had a chance to take a shot at the one pointer, however Moores jumped from dummy half on the last tackle and ignored that option before his side finally handed over possession.
Hand gave away a high tackle penalty moments after and with four minutes left on the clock Atkin stepped up to land the field-goal and win the game, as Swinton made Rochdale attack from deep as they saw out the game.
Jack Murphy, Shaun Robinson, Chris Hankinson, Ben White, Mike Butt, Grant Gore, Chris Atkin, Andy Bracek, Luke Waterworth, Josh Barlow, Connor Dwyer, Rhodri Lloyd, Anthony Bate Subs: Rob Lever, Anthony Nicholson, Adam Jones, Oliver Davies
Tries: Butt (1), Dwyer (57), Bracek (64) Goals: Atkin 5/5 Field Goal: Atkin (76)
Chris Riley, Miles Greenwood, Jordan Case, Lewis Galbraith, Rob Massam, Lewis Palfrey, Danny Yates, Samir Tahraoui, Ben Moores, Jordan Hand, Jono Smith, Josh Crowley, Gary Middlehurst Subs: Ryan Maneely, Jo Taira, Matty Hadden, Lee Mitchell
Tries: Galbraith (17), Massam (52, 68), Tahraoui (71) Goals: Palfrey 3/7
Hornets Man of the Match: Rob Massam continued his great try scoring form of late as he picked up two great tries and made great metres from deep in his own half on a number of occasions. His centre partner Lewis Galbraith also impressed in a great response to being benched on Good Friday, and was unlucky to miss out on man of the match.
Pen Count: 9-11