Betfred League 1 Round-Up
March 28, 2022
Swinton Lions are the early Betfred League 1 pacesetters after they eased past West Wales Raiders 82-4 at Heywood Road.
The Lions’ opening round victory sees Allan Coleman’s side top the pile after they scored 15 tries in defeating the Welsh outfit. Liam Forsyth marked his return from injury with a brace and this feat was matched by Mike Butt, Max Roberts, Jack Hanson, Dan Abram and Rhodri Lloyd. There were also single scores from Richard Lepori, Jordan Case and Deane Meadows.
Despite their heavy reverse, the Raiders were spirited throughout and they scored their only points late in the piece when Macauley Harris breached the Swinton line.
Doncaster find themselves occupying second place after the first round of fixtures after a 48-20 victory over Midlands Hurricanes – Cornwall RLFC’s first home opposition on April 10 – at the Eco-Power Stadium.
Although the final margin of victory for the Don’s appeared comfortable, the Hurricanes started strongly and after a try and three goals from Ben Hardcastle, the visitors led 10-0.
Doncaster’s cause was not helped by Dean Roberts’ early yellow card but once back to a full complement, the home side found their straps. A quick-fire brace from Jason Tali along with a try from Jason Robinson saw Doncaster wipe out Midlands’ early advantage.
The game threatened to boil over as both Hardcastle and Doncaster’s Leon Ruan were sent for a 10-minute sabbatical after a scuffle as the interval approached. But Midlands seemed to adapt better to playing with 12-men as Phil Cowburn reduced the arrears with a second visiting try before they lost another player to the bin – Tyler Walton for a high tackle.
Although the game was very much in the balance at 18-14 with 40 minutes to play, Richard Horne’s men made their extra man count in the early stages of the second stanza.
In the space of 13 minutes after the restart, Doncaster crossed on four separate occasions through Misi Taulapapa, Aaron Ollett-Hobson , Ben Johnston and Jack Sanderson. With Robinson turning all four tries into six-point scores from the tee, Doncaster had opened up a healthy 42-14 advantage.
Midlands didn’t raise the white flag, however, and scored next on the hour mark thanks to Sean Croston’s finish out wide. Fittingly, though, the final word went to Doncaster as Ruan completed the scoring with an eighth try. Once again Robinson found the mark with the extras to return a fine 100 per cent goal kicking record.
Keighley Cougars also started the season in impressive fashion with a 32-6 win at Oldham.
The Roughyeds, who are looking to bounce back into the Championship at the first attempt after suffering relegation last year, trailed 16-0 at the break with the one-way traffic continuing in the second half.
Nathan Roebuck and Aaron Levy led the Cougars’ charge with two tries each while Alix Stephenson and Lewis Young also registered for the Yorkshire side.
Oldham’s points came courtesy of Owen Restall’s 55th minute try which was converted by veteran home skipper Martyn Ridyard.
Hunslet were the fourth side to have recorded a victory in round one and their 28-10 win over London Skolars kicked the season off on Saturday at the New River Stadium.
The Parksiders had to work hard for their win and trailed 10-6 at half time. Joe Summers put Hunslet ahead with an unconverted try after seven minutes before London hit back with scores from Jonathan Bell and Aaron Small.
The second half hinged on London having a player sent off for a dangerous tackle shortly after Jack Mallison had levelled the scores at 10-10 for Hunslet.
Jason Mossop put Hunslet back in front and with London losing another player to the sin bin, Alan Kilshaw’s troops finally wrapped up an opening day win. David Gibbons’ score stretched Hunslet’s lead further before the gloss was put on an impressive second half showing from Kilshaw’s side by Harvey Whiteley.
By far and away the most dramatic game of round one took place at the Crown Oil Arena yesterday (Sunday) with North Wales Crusaders edging out Rochdale Hornets in a high-scoring thriller.
With 70 points scored over the course of an enthralling 80 minutes, it was Cornwall RLFC’s opponents this coming Saturday who withstood a late home comeback to win 36-34.
The Crusaders’ barest of all margins triumph was started by four goals from the boot of Tom Johnson and Scott Turner’s early two try burst.
At 16-0 down, the shell-shocked home side clicked into gear and Aiden Roden’s try, converted by Lewis Sheridan, started the Hornets’ fightback.
The home side pulled themselves right back into contention as Sheridan scored then converted his own score to reduce the Crusaders’ lead to just six points at half time.
But Anthony Murray’s charges started the second period just how they began the first by scoring as Jack Holmes’ converted effort opened up a sizeable 12-point lead. And it looked like Harry Swarbrick’s 49th minute try had sealed the points for the Colwyn Bay based outfit.
However, the see-saw nature of the game continued with Luke Fowden’s powerful effort giving Rochdale hope. Once again, North Wales appeared to extinguish the Hornets’ comeback attempt through Gavin Rodden’s try.
As the game entered its final quarter, Cian Tyrer just about kept Rochdale alive although their chances of overhauling North Wales was helped when evergreen winger Patrick Ah Van was sent to the sin bin.
Taking advantage of their numerical advantage, Ben Forster crossed to leave North Wales 34-28 ahead with eight minutes left. Visiting nerves were settled by Johnson’s late penalty and despite FuiFui Moimoi’s late try setting up a potential grandstand finish, North Wales held on to claim the spoils.