Rochdale Hornets 33-28 Swinton Lions
Sunday 9th July 2017, 15:00pm
Championship - Round: 21
Danny Yates, Ryan Maneely, Josh Crowley, Jake Eccleston, Jono Smith, Rob Massam,
Danny Yates 4,
Chris Atkin 3, Mike Butt,
Chris Atkin 6,
DERBY DELIGHT FOR COURAGEOUS HORNETS
In a derby which had everything, Rochdale Hornets came out on top as they fought hard for a 33-28 triumph over Swinton Lions.
There were yellow cards, disallowed tries, an eight point try, a field-goal and even a late twist, but all that mattered in the end was that Alan Kilshaw’s men were left celebrating as the full-time hooter sounded.
Hornets had to endure heartbreak at Heywood Road in the previous meeting of these sides, with Chris Atkin landing a game winning drop-goal in the 23-22 defeat on Easter Monday.
They gained their revenge though, and after a week of adversity off-the-field it was the perfect response from the boys in blue, white and red.
Ryan Maneely and Jack Holmes made their return to the team sheet in the place of Lewis Palfrey and Miles Greenwood, while Gary Middlehurst missed out due to a concussion, as Kevin Penny stepped in on dual registration.
The afternoon got off to a good start, as after Atkin had put the visitors 2-0 up with a penalty goal a clever blind side play saw Danny Yates cross for the opening try, as Moores decided to run the ball from dummy half on the last tackle, and his number seven went over in support.
Back-to-back pens ended with Atkin replying for the Lions as he evaded the defence to score, and Jono Smith’s challenge on the try scorer was judged to have been late. That led to heated scenes in which Smith and Josh Barlow were sin binned, the latter for taking exception to the tackle.
With Atkin making it an eight point try the visitors led 10-6, with Jake Eccleston crossing from a set play only to be denied for obstruction.
Swinton added to their lead on 27 minutes as Anthony Nicholson’s kick to the corner was chased down by Mike Butt, who had earlier been denied a try for a forward pass.
Hornets dragged themselves back within four points soon after Joe Bretherton was sin-binned for dissent, as the returning Maneely raced over under the black dot for a six pointer.
Six minutes before the break Butt was in again though, as this time he chased down Atkin’s kick to come up with a brilliant one-handed finish in the corner, with his side leading 20-12 at half-time due to a Chris Riley effort being chalked off for obstruction.
A dominant second half started with Josh Crowley strolling over five minutes into the second period, as Penny broke through the heart of defence to go within 10 metres of the try line, with the score coming off the next play.
Yates’ penalty goal soon after levelled the scores before Rochdale finally got themselves in front, as Lewis Foster’s cross-field kick fell to Eccleston, and he planted the ball down on the white line.
It was a lead which only last two minutes though, as Butt raced into Rochdale’s half before being hauled down by Jo Taira, and from the next play the impressive Jack Murphy raced in untouched past a stretched defence.
With two points in it Smith crossed on the hour mark, proving too strong from close range, before Atkin’s penalty levelled the game at 28-28 with 11 minutes to play.
It was heart in mouth time for the remainder of the game, as Foster slotted a field-goal with six minutes to go, and from the kick-off Swinton went short and were handed a penalty for offside.
Up stepped Atkin, looking to break hearts as he did earlier in the season, but he struck the post before the ball fell safely into Hornets’ possession.
The home side then went up the other field, and when Foster’s last tackle kick was deflected into Rob Massam’s path, there was no stopping the Welsh winger from 30 metres out.
A missed conversion led to a nervy finish, but the Hornets saw out the contest and picked up a crucial two points to reclaim eighth spot.
Rochdale Hornets: Kevin Penny, Chris Riley, Jack Holmes, Jake Eccleston, Rob Massam, Lewis Foster, Danny Yates, Jo Taira, Ben Moores, Lee Mitchell, Lewis Hatton, Jono Smith, Anthony Walker Subs (all used): Ryan Maneely, Gavin Bennion, Matthew Hadden, Josh Crowley
Tries: Yates (7), Maneely (31), Crowley (45), Eccleston (54), Smith (60), Massam (77)
Goals: Yates 4/7
Field goal: Foster (74)
Sin bin: Smith (11, late challenge)
Swinton Lions: Jack Murphy, Shaun Robinson, Chris Hankinson, Rhodri Lloyd, Mike Butt, Josh Woods, Chris Atkin, Andrew Bracek, Luke Waterworth, Josh Barlow, Nicholas Gregson, Adam Jones, Rob Lever Subs(all used): Joseph Bretherton, Liam Carberry, Anthony Nicholson, Oliver Davies
Tries: Atkin (11), Butt (27, 34), Murphy (56)
Goals: Atkin 6/8
Sin bin: Barlow (11, fighting), Bretherton (30, dissent)
Rochdale Hornets’ man of the match: Ben Moores was brilliant from dummy half, putting in a true leader’s performance as he directed his team around the field.
Pen Count: 7-13
Referee: J Smith