Swinton 54 Hunslet 22: Marsh injury takes gloss off Swinton's rise to the summit

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The Independent Online

Swinton went to the top of National League Two with this victory last night, but did so at a cost, with their talented loose forward, Lee Marsh, taken to hospital.

Playing temporarily at the ground of their local Super League rivals, Salford, the Lions were always a cut above their visitors, with their winger, Andy Saywell, leading the way with three of their 10 tries.

That was despite Swinton suffering a setback when Marsh, the hub of all their early ideas was taken off with a suspected fractured cheekbone after taking a heavy knock as he got a kick away.

Unfazed, the Lions produced two quick tries in the same right-hand side of the field where Marsh had been doing his damage, each remarkable in its way. The first was the result of some fingertip control and finally the juggling skills of the veteran Kiwi, Martin Moana. The second came when Staywell leapt to take Mark Moxon's kick on his own try line and set off for the other end of the field, pursued in vain by Ian Brown.

Both try-scorers got a second before half-time, with Moana taking Andy Crabtree's pass to go under some ineffectual tackling and Saywell scoring from Ian Sinfield's pass as Swinton again opened up the Hawks down the right.

Hunslet had been comprehensively outplayed, but they at least got on the scoreboard before the break, with Danny Ekis going over from Moxon's pass.

Swinton started a free-scoring second half with another spectacular try, Wayne English picking up a loose ball and running 70 metres, but Hunslet hit back with Ian Brown's interception from Liam McGovern.

English became another double try-scorer when he leapt to take Kris Smith's kick. McGovern, who also kicked seven goals, added a long range try as the Lions pulled comfortably clear.

George Rayner got one back for the Hawks before Saywell completed his hat-trick from McGovern's neat chip. There was another interception try, this time from Dave Llewellyn and Anthony Gibbons for Hunslet and Ian Sinfield concluded the fun and games.

There's a long way to go, but Swinton are already dreaming of derbies against Wigan next season.

Swinton: English, Saywell, Llewellyn, Ashton, Billy, Moana, McGovern, Marshall, Crabtree, Morley, Smith, Sinfield, Marsh. Substitutes used: Alstead, Stout, Johnson, Parry.

Hunslet: Sibson, R Brown, Foster, I Brown, Rayner, Gibbons, Moxon, Staveley, Robinson, Ekis, Freeman, Cartledge, Redfearn. Substitutes used: Cass, Seal, Cook, Carbett.

Referee: C Halloran (Dewsbury).