Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Sunday's Coming: Swinton

Whilst we’re all now champing at the bit to get 2018 underway, all talk of the last week has been of the Batley postponement and the consequent financial implications.

At its most basic, the loss of one of February’s three games deprives our club of 30% of it’s forecast revenue for the month and - after our observations last week of the impacts of the off-season budgetary issues - creates yet another financial hurdle to be negotiated.

Yes, we know that the 25 year lease on Scotland contains a clause whereby any game postponed at the behest of our landlords incurs a compensation payment, but the money that the Batley game would have yielded is needed right now to cover immediate costs.

And, if that situation wasn’t enough to make you shudder, the football club’s continued participation in the FA cup brings Spurs to Spotland for a televised tie on the day we should be playing Dewsbury (our suggestion: switch it to Wembley, have a big day out, pocket the cash and buy some grass seed).

As we said last week - testing times for all concerned.

As for the pitch situation, it has been mentioned endlessly in the media this week, variously between ‘limiting’ and ‘disgraceful’. Word reaches us that the football club has put the groundsman on gardening leave. God help his garden.

Having fought off their own financial demons last year, a new board looks to have steadied the Swinton ship for 2018. Key to that is the recent conformation of their dual-registration agreement with Wigan for 2018

Speaking in the the M.E.N, Swinton chairman Andy Mazey said: "With a tight budget and a small squad this year whilst we rebuild our club sustainably, the partnership with Wigan provides us with the ability to source quality players to supplement our squad when Stuart deems it necessary.”

The Lions began their 2018 campaign with a trip to Toulouse, where they were on the wrong end of a 32-point battering as TOXIIIC logged eight individual try scorers.

Swinton shipped five tries in the last quarter of an hour to go down 46-14. Interestingly, their only points of the second half came from the boot of Hankinson, futilely kicking into the 20-12 half-time deficit  after 56 minutes.

Swinton lined up:
1 Gabriel Fell
2 Mike Butt
3 Chris Hankinson
4 George Tyson
5 James Worthington
6 Danny Ansell
7 Jack Hansen
8 Andy Bracek
9 Hayden Hansen
10 Kyle Shelford
11 Rhodri Lloyd
12 Matt Sarsfield
13 Josh Barlow
14 Oliver Davies
15 Oliver Partington
16 Chris Worrall
17 Connor Taylor

Swinton also took a bit of an off-field bruising: we hear reports that one of their fans was jumped in Toulouse, suffering a broken cheek-bone and a stolen mobile. We wish him a quick recovery.

Coach Stuart Littler has undertaken what the Lions website describes as an ’extensive squad rebuilding’ exercise, bringing in nine new faces

We have Swinton’s 2018 intake as:
Kyle Shelford and Gabriel Fell (both Wigan), Marcus Webb and Danny Ansell  (both Hunslet)
Jesse Jo Sherriffe (Keighley), Chris Worrall (University of Gloucestershire All Golds), Hayden Hansen (Redcliffe Dolphins), Conor Taylor (Warrington) and the Championship’s favourite loose-cannon/sociopath George Tyson from Oldham.

Traditionally, there’s never been very much between ourselves and Swtinton so, as always, we are anticipating a close fought encounter at Heywood Road - and as our delayed season debut, it’d be good to get down there in numbers and make some noise.

AND DON’T FORGET: TLCRF80mins will be having a whip round on Sunday to raise some cash to help Hornets fill the financial hole left by the postponement of the Batley game, which deprives  us of 30% of February’s forecast revenue. We’re trying to get 500 RL fans to chuck in a tenner, with £5,000 our target, so please dig deep and help keep us start the season in as positive a way as possible.