In an action packed contest, Rochdale Hornets gave themselves a big survival boost by beating Swinton Lions 33-28 at the Crown Oil Arena. Ten tries and three sin-binnings made for a great contest but it was the Hornets who scraped past the Lions in a tense finish.
It was Swinton who was in front at the break and they scored the first points with a penalty goal from Chris Atkin. Rochdale notched the first try of the game on seven minutes thanks to scrum-half Danny Yates. Atkin responded for the Lions with an eight point try following a late challenge on the half-back. The late challenge angered the Lions and it resulted in yellow cards for Rochdale’s Jono Smith and Swinton’s Josh Barlow. Neither side got on the scoresheet while it was 12 versus 12 but minutes after the pair’s reappearance, Lions winger Mike Butt crossed for the first of two tries. On the half-hour, Swinton had another man sent to the sin-bin as Joe Bretherton was shown yellow for dissent. A minute later, Ryan Maneely cut the deficit to four points with a converted try. The final score of the half came courtesy of Butt.
Rochdale scored the first 12 points of the second half to regain their lead. Josh Crowley got the ball rolling with a 45th minute try before Yates kicked a penalty to level the game. Jake Eccleston touched down to put the Hornets in front, but only temporarily as Jack Murphy touched down on 56 minutes as the Lions went 28-26 to the good. On the hour, Smith kept the topsy-turvy game going with a four pointer for the Hornets which got them back ahead. Halfway through the final quarter came a penalty from Atkin which levelled the game once again and the end result could have gone either way. Lewis Foster pinged over a drop goal as the Hornets edged in front for a fourth time and the hosts kept hold of this lead thanks to a Rob Massam try three minutes from time. An absolute thriller!