Swinton 22 Halifax 28: Halifax overcome nervous moments to eventually edge out hosts Swinton

NORTHERN RAIL CUP: CO-OPERATIVE Championship winners Halifax opened their Northern Rail Cup campaign with a scrappy, unconvincing win in a nip-and-tuck game at Swinton.

The visitors started well, scoring the first try of the game after only five minutes through centre James Hale. Lee Paterson's conversion drifted wide, but the Yorkshire side stretched their advantage within three minutes when wing Paul White went over.

Paterson hit the target for 10-0, before Swinton responded just shy of the half hour with a score from Rob Foxen. Rob Worrincy then added a third for the visitors.

But a calamitous three-minute spell saw the Lions cross twice through hooker Mark Smith and centre Dean Thompson, Gavin Dodd kicking both conversions, to see the home side enjoy a surprise 16-14 lead at the break.

Halifax regained the lead in the 54th minute, Paterson cutting through from Jones's pass, the centre converting for a 20-16 lead.

Neil Holland's try, goaled by Dodd, gave Swinton the edge again going into the final quarter before Paterson's second score put Halifax 24-22 ahead for the final time with 13 minutes remaining then Sam Barlow tagged on a last-minute touchdown.

Swinton: Hawkyard; Foxen, Dodd, Thompson, Flooks; Ainscough, Watson; Morrison, Ashall, Holland, Hawkyard, Cunliffe, Wingfield. Substitutes: Smith, Mort, Rigby, Johnson.

Halifax: Greenwood; White, Paterson, Haley, Worrincy; Jones, Black; Barlow, Beswick, Gannon, Bannister, Clayton, Smith. Substitutes: Penkywicz, Chandler, Fairbank, Barlow.

Referee: R Hicks (RFL).