Halifax slump at Swinton Lions as bad run continues

James Saltonstall
James Saltonstall

Halifax finished with 11 men as they slumped to a 32-12 defeat in a bad-tempered Championship game against Swinton at Sale's Heywood Road ground.

Simon Grix’s side, who have now won just one of their last 11 league fixtures, had back rower Ed Barber, who had already spent 10 minutes in the sin bin after a scuffle, red carded in the 32nd minute following another melee as referee Steve Race struggled to keep the lid on a four-point mid-table clash.

They then lost centre Steve Tyrer, making his 300th appearance for the club, four minutes from time following another bout of fighting.

The Lions had their share of cards - Rob Fairclough and winger Mike Butt getting yellows after the incidents involving Barber and Rhodri Lloyd seeing red with Tyrer - but still managed to dominate on the scoreboard, leading 20-0 after half an hour, 20-6 at the break and 32-6 with a minute to go.

The result leaves Grix’s side still in eighth place on the ladder, but they are now level with Swinton on 19 points with two games - at home to York and Rochdale - remaining.

The Lions had taken an eighth-minute lead when Warrington-bound full back sensation Matty Ashton set up Richie Lepori, Jack Hansen’s conversion going wide.

Hansen then teed up Wigan back Craig Mullen for an 8-0 lead, Hansen’s conversion bouncing back off the upright.

Barber and Fairclough were then dispatched to the sin bin and although the visitors went close through Keegan Hirst, it was Swinton who scored again when Butt dived over and Hansen converted for a 14-0 advantage.

Ashton touched down two minutes later and with Hansen converting both the Lions were dominant at 20-0.

Barber’s red card followed, with Fax giving themselves something approaching a lifeline when Brandon Moore slipped James Saltonstall over and Tyrer converted for a 20-6 interval scoreline.

But Lepori’s second score four minutes into the half, Hansen missing the conversion but adding a subsequent penalty, left Swinton leading 26-6 with half an hour remaining.

Hansen then touched down himself and kicked the conversion to make it 32-6 before Jacob Fairbank scored a last minute consolation try, converted by James Woodburn-Hall, for the short-handed visitors.

Swinton: Ashton; Butt, Hankinson, Mullen, Lepori; Hansen, Fairclough; Bennion, Waterworth, Hatton, Lloyd, Wells, Jones. Subs: Brickhill, Gregson, Kenga, Kibula

Halifax: Grix; Robinson, Tyrer, Saltonstall, McGrath; Murrell, Woodburn-Hall; Hirst, Moore, Fairbank, Cooper, Barber, Larroyer. Subs: Johnston, Fleming, Davies, Kavanagh

Referee: Steve Race