Despite a 44-10 reversal , Head Coach Richard Squires was pleased with the performance of his side , that featured no less than eight Midlands debutants ‘ The boys were really excited to be back, we were a bit ring rusty and giddy at the start ,he commented but once we settled down , controlled the ruck and started to get ourselves into the grind , we competed with Swinton pound for pound and that leaves in good stead moving forward to the start of the new season.’
That ring rusty-ness was evident from the kick off Swinton making early inroads into Hurricanes territory and they registered early tries through Joe Lowe , Josh Eaves and Anthony Dyne as the visitors took time to adjust to the pace of the game .
A smart kick from Ben Stead cross field nearly provides the Canes first of the afternoon , Matty Welham’s gymnastic catch on the run was spectacular but sadly he couldn’t find a way to release the ball out to the Midland support players .
Myles Harrop added another for Swinton before the Hurricanes attack clicked into gear to open their account for 2023 . Captain Chris Cullimores long pass from the play the ball found Rich Wilkinson and a cheeky little lofted pass from the scrum half found the on rushing Matt Welham to touchdown wide out on the right . Stead’s sweetly struck conversation sailed plum centre of the crossbar for his first of the year .
The score lifting Hurricanes confidence they pushed forward ,but several times wasting possession when finding themselves in the opposition’s half and Swinton made the most of the chances – adding another score before the break , Dyne exploiting a 2- 1 overlap for his second and Gregson added his 4 goal of the half .
HALF TIME Swinton Lions 28 – Midlands Hurricanes 10
Urged on by a sizeable contingent of Hurricanes support who had made the trip north , the visitors started the second 40 in determined fashion , taking the game to the opposition with some strong carries from the forwards , the combination of old and new in the front row , Bowring and Bailey being particularly effective .
A couple of back to back penalties the Midlands gave them great field position deep in their opponents half but a dropped ball on attack gifted possession back to Swinton .
Shortly afterwards powerful centre Dom Flanagan almost added add the Canes second try but he was unable ground the ball ,just short of the try line .
First blood of the half went the way of the Lions , a defensive misread giving them a three on one overlap and an easy score for Andrew Bedrock . Fifty eight mins into the game and the Hurricanes finally made double figures on the scoreboard with a special moment for two of the Midlands debutants who combined to produced a classic four pointer – quick ball from Coates and Stead , made space for lively half back Rich Wilkinson who’s perfectly weighted punt to the corner held up on the bounce for Desmond Appiah- Kubi to score his first professional try. It was just reward for the rookie winger , who, although his inexperience was evident , put in an 80 min performance full of enthusiasm and commitment .
Kicking into a brief torrential downpour , Steads touchline conversation attempt pulled agonisingly just wide.
Further chance came the way of the visitors , sadly they fail to capitalise on an excellent 40 -20 to touch and then were held up again inches short of adding a third try.
With the whole of the match played in an excellent spirit by both teams , there had been little contentious for Ref Matthew Lynn to deal with and his decision to sin bin Hurricanes Kieran Moran for interference ,with only ten mins of the game remaining seemed a little harsh and Swinton made the most of their numerical advantage ,running in further scores through Mitch Cox and Home Man of the Match Kenny Baker .
2 Mike Butt
24 Myles Harrop
22 Andrew Badrock
4 Jayden Hatton
29 Anthony Dyne
6 Nick Gregson
23 Joe Lowe
8 Gavin Bennion
14 Josh Eaves
10 Kenny Baker
12 Mitch Cox
16 Gav Rodden
13 Louis Brogan
Subs (all used)
1 Dan Abram (NU)
3 Jake Spedding
28 Callum Hughes
15 Jordan Case
21 Jonny Openshaw
18 Liam Cooper
11 Rhodri Lloyd
20 Morgan Burgess
25 Scott Parnaby
Tries: Lowe (4), Eaves (11), Dyne (16,34), Harrop (22), Badrock (52),
Cox (71), Hughes (75)
Goals: Gregson 6/8
Fat, Fifty Rugby League Enthusiast .Avid follower of all things League 1 and unfortunate survivor of a 50 year love affair with Keighley RLFC..