Swinton Lions 44 Hunslet Hawks 40: Defensive frailties prove costly as Hunslet’s fightback falls just short

HUNSLET Hawks coach Barry Eaton acknowledged his side’s defensive frailties despite a battling comeback in an agonising away defeat to Swinton.
Barry EatonBarry Eaton
Barry Eaton

The Lions pinched victory by just four points after a gripping encounter at the Leigh Sports Village.

Having led 16-0 after a dominant start, the home side powered into a commanding 28-6 half-time lead.

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But despite a nightmare opening 40 minutes the Hawks bravely fought back to come within an ace of snatching things at the death, outscoring their opponents 34-16 after the break.

“Defensively we didn’t give ourselves much of a chance, but in the second half we got back into it and could have had more than just a bonus point,” reflected Eaton.

“Unfortunately some players went away from the game plan and did their own thing.

“We were very poor in defence in the first half and gave them [Swinton] too much of a lead.

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“We had to work hard in the second half , but overall I am pleased with the effort we showed.

“It’s just a shame we didn’t get anything for all that hard work in the second half.”

Rhys Williams and Ryan Shaw both scored doubles for the hosts, while the Hawkyard brothers – Richie and Darren – were both on the try sheet, as was substitute Martin Ainscough and Kevin Penny as the Lions scored eight tries in total.

Shaw also slotted over six successful kicks from nine attempts to complete a productive day at the office.

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Jimmy Watson notched a hat-trick of tries for the Hawks, all in the second half, while Luke Haigh and Jimmy Keinhorst both crossed for good touchdowns.

John Oakes scored a seventh try with four minutes remaining to set up a tense finish, but the Lions held on.

Luke Helliwell converted six kicks from seven attempts for the Hawks, but he finished on the losing side.

Swinton Lions: R Hawkyard, Penny, Shaw, Williams, Ormsby, O’Brien, Watson, Riley, Smith, Morrison, McCarthy, D Hawkyard. Substitutes: Hulme, Mills, Barlow, Aincough.

Hunslet Hawks: Watson, Mapals, Keinhorst, Wellam, Pryce, Grimshaw, Helliwell, Yates, Haigh, Menzies, Oakes, Haughey, March. Substitutes: Hood, Houston, Haley, Moore.

Referee: G Hewer (RFL).