Flanagan settles Dewsbury nerves with late winner against Swinton

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DEWSBURY RAMS, much thanks to the individual brilliance of substitute hooker George Flanagan, clung on for a vital Co-operative Championship triumph over Swinton Lions – despite at one stage leading by 26 points.

At the interval, the hosts led 16-0 and matters worsened for the visiting Lancashire side during the opening minutes of the second half.

Undeterred, Swinton battled back tremendously to get to within a penalty goal of the lead before Flanagan delivered the final blow, touching down for his hat-trick try.

Dewsbury, who sit seventh on the league ladder, ended an initial 28-minute stalemate through skipper Austin Buchanan and moved into double figures following two penalties, which stand-off Patch Walker converted into points.

Warren Jowitt’s play-off vying Rams finished the first half with another try, following a drop out, as Josh Tonks sent Flanagan crashing over for his first of a three-try haul.

Despite being without influential full-back James Craven, the Heavy Woollen outfit started the second stanza as they ended the first, crossing the whitewash twice in a matter of minutes through Flanagan and youngster Greg Scott.

The travelling Lions removed four points from the deficit thanks to a Dale Cunniffe try, which Ian Mort converted.

But that act, much to the surprise of the Dewsbury home crowd, kick-started a brilliant revival.

Three further Swinton tries followed in quick succession courtesy of Tom Armstrong, who scored a brace, and former Warrington Wolves star Kevin Penny.

At 26-24, after three more Mort conversions, the Rams’ 2012 campaign was effectively hanging in the balance until Flanagan pounced on a loose ball to race over from half way.

Dewsbury Rams: Scott; Williams; Esders; Faal; Buchanan; Walker; Spaven; Jones; Blake; Crossley; Singleton; Spicer; Tonks. Substitutes: Nicholson; Cosgrove; Chandler; Flanagan.

Swinton Lions: Hawkyard; Mort; Reay; Armstrong; Penny; Ainscough; Watson; Mills; Smith; Morris; Cunniffe; Hawkyard; Forster. Substitutes: Holland; Riley; Ashall; Meekin.

Referee: W Turley (RFL).