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Match Report: Swinton Lions 10-46 Batley Bulldogs

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A devastating ten-minute spell in the second-half saw the Bulldogs swamp the Swinton Lions 46-10 at the Leigh Sports Village to cement the visitors' position in the Championship top three.


by Mark Ward

Kingstone Press Cider Championship, Leigh Sports Village, 9 June 2013

The Bulldogs posted their most impressive display for some time this afternoon at a sun-drenched LSV as they crushed bottom-of-the-table Swinton Lions 46-10 on a day when some of their closest rivals slipped up. Although this afternoon's result was never in doubt once the visitors hit the front, the scoreline was rough on the Lions, who dominated the early stages of the game, and were holding the high-flying Bulldogs scoreless until the half-hour mark. John Kear's side defended magnificently however while the home side were in the ascendancy, and then stepped up several gears in the second-half, scoring five tries in a devastating 11 minute spell. The game was a personal triumph for bustling Bulldogs forward Alex Rowe, who alongside Liam Walmsley and John Davies dominated the clash of the packs, scoring an impressive three tries in the process.

The final scoreline is all the more amazing considering the scoreless 30 minutes. Swinton dominated the opening exchanges and forced the Bulldogs into some intense defensive work, but tellingly, they failed to find a way through the visitors' impressive line. Martin Ainscough was behind much of the early Lions attack, coming closest on 13 minutes when he was held up by Miles Greenwood's herculean effort in-goal. The Bulldogs improved as the half wore on, and started to show glimpses of their danger - Liam Walmsley dropped the ball as the line beckoned on 17 minutes, then Ash Lindsay did the same on 25 minutes from Jason Walton's pass and Greg Johnson just failed to pull in Ben Black's diagonal kick two minutes later.

With the Bulldogs piling on the pressure, the breakthrough came on the half-hour when substitute Alex Rowe barrelled over from close range against a tiring defensive line. Gareth Moore added the conversion and the visitors were finally up and running. With Mark Smith off the park, the hosts seemed to visibly wilt and the Bulldogs pressed home their advantage on 37 minutes - Johnny Campbell's surging run set up the platform and when the visitors forced a second successive possession set, George Flanagan waltzed through the Swinton defence from 20 metres out, doubling the Bulldogs advantage following Moore's extras.


In all truth, the second half was little short of a horror show for the Lions as all their good first-half unravelled once the Bulldogs starting piling on the points. The catalyst for Swinton's downfall was the 45th minute sin-binning of Jack Morrison who struck out at Flanagan following a tackle and Mr Leatherbarrow reached for a yellow card after consulting his touch judge. It was to prove a costly dismissal for the hosts as the Bulldogs cut loose in his absence.

The tries flowed with alarming regularity as far as the Lions were concerned. Rowe was held up just a minute after Morrison's departure and moments later John Davies created the opportunity for Miles Greenwood to score, ably converted again by Moore. From the restart, the Bulldogs scored the try of the afternoon - Rowe carried the ball through the Swinton brick wall and charge 20 metres before drawing the full-back superbly to release the supporting Flanagan who outpaced his markers to score a breathtaking effort. Moore's dependable boot pushed the score on to 24-0. Three minutes later, the Bulldogs notched another impressive effort - this time sparkling combination play between Walton and Greenwood down the right resulted in the second try of the afternoon for the latter. Moore's unblemished kicking record came to an end as his conversion struck the upright, but he added two more on 56 and 58 minutes and Rowe completed his devastating hat-trick with two quick-fire efforts and the visitors were forty unanswered points to the good.

The Lions finally gave the sparse home crowd some cheer on 64 minutes when Ainscough created the opportunity for Samir Tahraoui to score, but the Bulldogs hit back three minutes later when Moore picked up a Swinton knockdown to return it 20 metres, converting his own try to make it 46-4. Then, Greg Johnson just failed to connect with Moore's kick to the corner before the Lions pulled back another try with five minutes to go, Ainscough again the provider - this time for Jack Cooper.

All in all, a satisfying win for the 'Dogs, securing a comprehensive victory after a tough defensive workout backed up with some sparkling attacking play. All thoughts now turn to the Northern Rail Cup, and John Kear's side will no doubt head into their Quarter-Final in good spirits after today's events.

SWINTON LIONS: 23 Burke, 22 Ormsby, 17 Shaw, 26 Evans, 5 Penny, 3 Ainscough, 6 I'Anson, 31 Cooper, 9 M. Smith, 21 Riley, 32 Sarsfield, 20 Bridge, 29 Tahraoui. Interchange: 10 Holland, 13 Barlow, 18 Morrison (sin-binned 45), 30 Thomas.

T: Tahraoui, Cooper

G: Shaw

BATLEY BULLDOGS: 1 Greenwood, 5 Campbell, 3 Walton, 4 Maun, 21 G. Johnson, 6 Black, 7 Moore, 8 B. Smith, 9 Mennell, 26 J. Johnson, 17 Walmsley, 16 Davies, 13 Lindsay. Interchange: 14 Flanagan, 15 Hirst, 19 Rowe, 25 Leary

T: Rowe 3, Flanagan 2, Greenwood 2, Moore

G: Moore 7

SCORING SEQUENCE: 0-6, 0-12, HT, 0-18, 0-24, 0-28, 0-34, 0-40, 4-40, 4-46, 10-46

REFEREE: C Leatherbarrow

MAN OF THE MATCH: Alex Rowe (Batley Bulldogs) - in a match where many of the visitors shone, Rowe led the way with a high-impact hat-trick and a great set up for George Flanagan's scorching try in the second half.

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