Featherstone Rovers 32 Swinton Lions 18: Brawl mars spectacle as out-of-sorts Rovers run rings around winless Lions
FEATHERSTONE maintained their 100 per cent home record by beating winless bottom team Swinton.
The game was marred by a brawl nine minutes from time that saw Rovers’ Misi Taulapapa sent off and Swinton’s Robert Fairclough sin -binned. Rovers half-back Tom Holmes and Swinton’s Rhodri Lloyd were yellow-carded following a 66th minute flare-up.
Former Swinton wingman Shaun Robinson scored two tries and stand-off Martyn Ridyard chipped in with a try and four goals from four kicks in Featherstone’s fifth win in six matches that kept them level on points at the top of the Betfred Championship with London Broncos and Toulouse Olympique.
Rovers were well below their best against strugglers Swinton who have won just once on 24 visits to Post Office Road since 1965. The Lions never threatened an upset but they competed well with George Tyson and Matt Sarsfield each bagging two tries. Rovers made all the early running and went ahead in the seventh minute when winger Tom Briscoe raced 65 yards for a try that stretched his scoring run to seven consecutive matches.
Rovers survived a spell of pressure then switched to the other end. Robinson was halted just short. They regained their scoring touch in the 22nd minute when Keal Carlile dived over from acting half for his first try this season. The Lions cut the gap when Sarsfield grabbed an unconverted try after 30 minutes but Featherstone replied swiftly when Frankie Mariano powered over from close range and Ridyard added his third goal to make it 18-4 at the break.
In the second-half James Lockwood made the opening for Ridyard to dart over for a converted try. Swinton staged a revival when Tyson scored two tries in six minutes to reduce the deficit to 24-12 but Rovers struck an important blow when clever play by Ridyard and Taulapapa saw Robinson finish in style at the corner.
Sarsfield got his second try five minutes from time, with Josh Woods converting, but Rovers had the last word when Robinson scored his second from Holmes’s looping pass.
Featherstone Rovers: Hardman; Briscoe, Hardcastle, Taulapapa, Robinson; Ridyard, Holmes; Oledzki, Carlile, Clark, Farrell, Mariano, Knowles. Subs: Wildie, Hock, Brooks, Lockwood.
Swinton Lions: Fell; Butt, Hankinson, Tyson, Higginson; Woods, Fairclough; Bracek, Hansen, Bennion, Lloyd, Sarsfield, Barlow. Subs: Austin, Partington, Shelford, Waterworth.
Referee: Tom Grant (Leeds).