Swinton Lions Match Report by Joshua Chapman (@Chapalar)
Following back to back victories over the Doncaster RL and Hunslet Hawks in the previous two fixtures, Paul March took his charges across the Pennines to the Leigh Sports Village for the second time this season as they faced the Swinton Lions.
Paul March made several changes to the Cougars side that defeated the Hawks in a dramatic game last week at Cougar Park. Welsh international Craig Moss returned to the outfit in place of Paul March, who dropped to the interchanges, a move which saw Danny Jones go to Stand Off. Joe Chandler moved from the interchanges to come into centre with James Haley missing from the seventeen. The other change for the Cougars saw Ben Sagar coming into the interchanges in the place of Sean Kelly.
The Lions were packing plenty of power coming into the fixture as they had five Warrington Wolves stars in on dual registration. The five were James Mendeika, Tyrone McCarthy, James Laithwaite, Ben Harrison and Brad Dwyer. The Lions also had Mick Nanyn, one of the games all time greatest point scorers, in at the centres on a month’s loan from Championship rivals, Halifax.
Paul March’s outfit must off thought that it was going to be a long afternoon when the Lions dominated them in all departments in the opening twelve minutes at the Leigh Sports Village. The Lions thought they were in for the opening score when Ian Watson sent a cross field kick out onto the right wing but Kevin Penny was an inch too short and the ball found its way out into touch.
The Lions then did break the deadlock as they took advantage of a fragile as following a ball spillage the Lions took the free play in their stride as Penny broke the line and ran seventy metres before opting to take the ball around Craig Moss by offloading to Mick Nanyn, with the point scoring centre crossing underneath the posts to break the deadlock before converting his own try.
The Cougars then found themselves further behind as Gene Ormsby, who was showing off one of the games more peculiar hairstyles, raced down the wing before offloading to one off the Lions Warrington stars, James Mendeika, who went over the whitewash before touching down underneath the posts. Mick Nanyn then proceeded to add the extras with ease once again.
The home side were then back in the tryscoring grove as they crossed for their second try in as many minutes and their third off the afternoon. The Cougars showed some more shocking defence to allow the Lions to break and race down the field with James Mendieka proceeding to finish the move off crossing the tryline. Mick Nanyn, much to the surprise off the poor crowd, missed the conversion it what would turn out to be the Lions last point scoring off the afternoon.
The Cougars then started to get on the front foot, giving the Lions many questions they were unable to answer following a fantastic kick and chase which lead to Mark Smith and Oliver Pursglove clashing heads in an incident which would leave the Cougars second row forward bloodied for the remainder off the game.
Swinton then started to let some foul play slip into their game which would go onto prove them costly throughout the remainder off the game. After a suspect high shot on Elliott Cosgrove, Tyrone McCarthy would get himself placed on report moments later. The Wire star rushed in on Andy Shickell and knocked the ‘Shicky Monster’ clean out with a shot which was suspected to be a shoulder charge by the match officials.
After holding Swinton out on the line in a move which saw Shickell depart clearly shaking from the challenge, the Cougars got themselves an attack on the Lions line for the first time in the afternoon and they took advantage.
Following some frantic Swinton defending to keep the likes of Brendon Rawlins out, the Lions finally gave in as Elliott Cosgrove fought his way through four defenders to get over the tryline to get the Cougars onto the scoreboard. Scott Leatherbarrow then proceeded to add the extras for the visitors.
After holding Martin Ainscough up over the line, the game suddenly turned into the Craig Moss show as the returning player of the year took the game by the scruff off the neck and never looked back. The Welsh international took the Cougars down the field with the help off Scott Leatherbarrow and some clever passing saw Danny Jones crash over the line to bring the Cougars back within touching distance following another Leatherbarrow conversion.
With the Swinton fans starting to get restless, creating a hostile atmosphere inside LSV, the Cougars began to find their element which had carried them to back to back victories in the weeks leading up to this game and the Lions were getting panicky as Brendon Rawlins and youngster Ryan Patchett pressurised them in both attack and defence as the game reached the half time interval.
The second half began with a change of official as Mr Thomason went into half time believed to be injured and this was the talking point as the opening ten minutes off the half proved to be a dull and slightly tedious affair with penalties taking over the game.
But then, Craig Moss began to control the show once again as he played the ball which led to a break down the flank by Daley Williams and the winger opted to offload to Scott Leatherbarrow who then sent the ball into the arms of the full back who crossed the line to bring the Cougars back level with their hosts before Scott Leatherbarrow converted to open up a two point gap between the sides.
With the Swinton support beginning to grow restless, they would not have been happy with their sides discipline as it led to a challenge which left Brendon Rawlins down hurt with Samir Tahraoui sent for a ten minute stretch in the sin bin by the replacement official.
From the resulting Cougars penalty, they went onto extend their lead as Paul March sent a clever past to the man ruling the show, Craig Moss, to send the returning full back over the line for his second try off the afternoon but unfortunately for the Cougars, Scott Leatherbarrow missed the conversion.
Swinton were falling apart at the seams which was presenting the Cougars with so many try scoring opportunities and they took another one as another clever passing move by the Cougars saw Paul White collect the ball and fight his way through the Lions defence to crash in the corner. Scott Leatherbarrow then proceeded to fail to add the extras again.
Swinton’s discipline continued to worsen as they presented the visitors with many penalties that allowed them to make their way towards the try line and the Cougars did so with ease to extend their lead further as now Man of the Match, Craig Moss, collected a Scott Leatherbarrow offload to go over to complete his hat-trick on return before Scotty added the extras.
With the Swinton fans turning on their players and coach in the hostile cauldron of quietness, the Cougars support was more vocal than ever in their support of the side and this carried the Cougars forward once again as Craig Moss took the ball and offloaded to Scott Leatherbarrow who’s kick was collected by Joe Chandler after a Gene Ormsby spill.
From this spill, the Cougars continued the tackle count before Paul March sent a kick across the Leigh Sports Village pitch and Kevin Penny thought he was away but Daley Williams pulled off one of the ball steals off the season to get the ball back and race into the corner to cross the tryline and bring the game to an end despite Scott Leatherbarrow missing the extras.
Yorkshire Times Cougars Man of the Match – Craig Moss – What a return to the first team from the reigning Player of the Year! Mossy took the game by the scruff off the neck, organising the defence as well as controlling play in attack. The Welsh International got himself over for a try hat trick as well as playing his part in many of the other tries! Welcome Back Craig!
Cougars: Moss, Williams, Chandler, Cosgrove, White, Jones, Leatherbarrow, Shickell, Feather, Hesketh, Pursglove, Lynam, Rawlins. Interchanges: March, Law, Sagar, Patchett.
Lions: Burke, Ormsby, Mendeika, Nanyn, Penny, Ainscough, Watson, McCarthy, Smith, Tahraoui, Laithwaite, Hawkyard, Harrison. Interchanges: Mills, Brown, Morrison, Dwyer.