Swinton Lions v Rochdale Hornets
Friday 19th April 2019, 15:00pm
Championship - Round: 10
Stats over last 8 encounters
ROCHDALE Hornets head into the traditional Good Friday derby at Heywood Road on the back of a flogging at the hands of Salford Red Devils in the Challenge Cup. Swinton however, had the weekend off, falling at the first hurdle against Featherstone Rovers in the same competition.
STORY SO FAR
Both the Lions and Hornets have a win apiece going into the Easter weekend and languish at the foot of the table, with only Widnes Vikings below them as they battle against a points deduction.
Ironically, both sides have seen off the team that sits one point above them in Barrow Raiders, with the Lions edging them 26-33 at Craven Park last month. Former Hornet, Gavin Bennion crossed for the Lions that afternoon as five ex-Rochdalians were on show across both sides; Deon Cross (Barrow) Lewis Hatton, Gavin Bennion, Billy Brickhill and Paddy Jones (Swinton).
Hornets head into the game on the back of a heavy Challenge Cup defeat against a full strength Salford Red Devils side, but Carl Forster will have a number of experienced players that were rested at his disposal with Scott Moore, Stuart Howarth and Lee Mitchell set to return while Jordan Case is in contention as he recovers from a rib injury.
Hornets last Championship outing was a second half capitulation against Halifax despite taking an early lead. Fozzy and his coaches will be looking to the Hornets players to sustain their first half performance because if they do, they will stand a chance of sweeping the Lions aside in a must win fixture.
The two sides faced off no less than four times in 2018, with both sides each picking up two wins. The first meeting came at Summer Bash, after the round two fixture at Heywood Road was postponed.
The Lions recorded an impressive 12-38 victory in the Blackpool sunshine, but the week after the two did battle once more, with Hornets gaining revenge with a 18-25 win.
The following month, it was heartbreak on the hooter for the Lions at Spotland as Morgan Smith snatched the win at the death with a spectacular charge down effort.
The final meeting would come in the Super 8’s – a victory that Swinton thought would seal their Championship safety. With a 23-18 victory, Hornets were left staring down the barrel of relegation, but a change in league structure and two wins from their final two games against Dewsbury and Sheffield confirmed Championship rugby in 2019 and condemned the Lions to a relegation play off.
Matty Ashton – The Rochdale native joined the lions ahead of the 2019 season and has got his semi-professional career off to a blistering start grabbing a bag full of tries from the wing. The former Mayfield man is one of three Rochdalians on the Lions’ books including Ashley Warne and former Hornet Michael Ratu.
Gavin Bennion – No introduction is needed for the powerful front rower. Bennion signed for Swinton from Salford Red Devils having spent 12 months at the Super League side who he joined from Hornets. He also spent time on loan at Rochdale last season.
He has been in blistering form for the Lions this time out recording freakish stats and playing big minutes at Heywood Road.
Mike Butt – The Welsh winger has made a name for himself as one of the Championships hottest outside backs since joining Swinton initially on trial ahead of the 2017 season. He recently led the side when club captain Rhodri Lloyd was absent, and it’s with that man that he has formed a formidable edge partnership with over the years. Butt knows his way to the line as well as doing the dirty work in defence and carrying the ball out of yardage for his side.