Halifax Panthers 48 Swinton Lions 12: How Halifax returned to Championship winning ways in style
Halifax Panthers returned to winning ways following a comprehensive 48-12 victory over bottom-of-the-table Swinton Lions.
The Panthers, who suffered their first defeat since May last weekend, got out of the blocks well and took a 26-0 lead at the break.
The win will undoubtedly help to build confidence ahead of a crunch tie with Featherstone Rovers next Sunday.
Fax’s first scoring opportunity came in the fourth minute as Ben Kavanagh exposed a gap in Swinton’s defence and surged forward.
The returning Connor Robinson ran in support, received possession and touched down for what appeared to be the opener. However, celebrations at the Shay were cut short when referee Nick Bennett pulled play back for a forward pass.
The hosts refused to dwell on that missed opportunity as they quickly created another one. Just three minutes later, a quick break from Greg Worthington put the Lions on the back foot. Brandon Moore ran in support and, once he received possession, there was simply no stopping the Halifax skipper.
Robinson added two more points with his conversion but that didn’t stop the Panthers from taking their foot off the gas. In fact, with quarter-of-an-hour gone, Moore punished the Lions’ defence yet again.
Jacob Fairbank started the move with a short pass to Dan Murray. He penetrated a gap in the Lions defence before finding Moore to his side. The Fax captain surged ahead and touched down under the posts. A second successful conversion put the hosts 12-0 in front.
The points simply kept on coming as James Saltonstall bagged his 10th try of the season just moments later.
Zack McComb got the better of his opposite number before unleashing Saltonstall down the wing. The player raced 30 metres before crashing over in the corner.
Swinton managed to temporarily stop the rot and go on the attack themselves. However, the Lions were unable to break down Fax’s determined defence which seemed intent of righting last week’s defeat to Widnes.
On the half-hour mark, the Panthers were over once again. Clever build-up play from Liam Harris and Robinson allowed Kavanagh to cross the whitewash. Robinson’s kick moved the hosts 22-0 to the good.
With a couple of minutes before half-time, Swinton received a penalty for a high tackle. However, as the Lions pushed forward, a loose ball on the last tackle was scooped up by Ed Barber.
A quick off-load to Saltonstall saw the winger power up the field before finding Liam Harris to his right. The 23-year-old took full advantage as he raced 50 metres to cross the whitewash.
Robinson couldn’t add the extras as the hosts went into the break leading 26-0.
Swinton came out firing in the second half and almost immediately found the whitewash through Rhodri Lloyd. Martyn Ridyard got the extras as momentum began to shift.
Fifteen minutes later, the Lions found another breakthrough as Will Hope crossed to further close the gap. Ridyard’s second conversion made it 26-12 as tensions began to grow around the Shay.
Those nerves didn’t last long though as the Panthers turned on the style in the final 20 minutes.
Four quick-fire efforts from Matt Garside, Ben Tibbs, Scott Grix and Zack McComb completed what proved to be a comprehensive 48-12 victory.