Dewsbury Rams 32
Swinton lions 24
GEORGE Flanagan scored a brilliant hat-trick to inspire Dewsbury Rams to victory over Swinton Lions in the Co-operative Championship last Sunday.
The Rams appeared to be easing to victory as they built up a 26-0 lead after 53 minutes only for the Lions to battle back with four converted tries.
Swinton then appeared to have grabbed an unlikely lead when stand-off Martin Ainscough raced over but Dewsbury breathed a high sigh of relief when play was brought back for obstruction.
The Lions mounted another attack in injury time but dropped the ball and Flanagan collected it and raced away, swerving one was then the other to avoid chasing full-back Richard Hawkyard before diving between the posts. Patch Walker landed his sixth goal of the afternoon to seal a much needed win for the Rams.
Dewsbury were in complete control during a dominant first half.
Lovely link up play between Ayden Faal and Austin Buchanan gifted Greg Scott a glorious chance to open the scoring less than a minute into the game but he dropped the final pass with a clear run to the try line.
Swinton were twice forced to drop-out from between their own posts
Steve Crossley was judged to be held up over the line following a fierce drive, while Faal attempted a one handed pass to Buchanan but flung the ball into touch with the line beckoning.
Dewsbury finally broke the deadlock in the 26th minute when Faal fed Scott and he slipped a pass out to Buchanan, who dived in at the left corner. Walker curled over a terrific touchline conversion.
Two minutes later Walker hammered over a penalty from 45 yards out and he tagged on a second following another Swinton infringement to put the Rams 10-0 up.
Things improved further in first half injury time when Swinton were forced to drop-out for a third time and Josh Tonks made a storming run at the heart of the Lions defence before passing to Flanagan, who cantered to the line, with Walker converting.
Despite losing the influential Crossley clutching an arm, Dewsbury continued to dominate early in the second half.
Flanagan received the ball 25 yards out and raced through a gap and over for a brilliant individual try, which Walker improved.
Prop Ben Jones was held up over the line before Dewsbury added a fourth try.
Matty Nicholson ran at the defence from inside his own half before slipping a pass out to Scott Spaven. The scrum half stormed upfield before sending Scott charging to the line wide on the left.
Walker was unable to add the conversion but at 26-0 it appeared the Rams were on course for a convincing win.
However, Swinton battled back in style as Dale Cunniffe crashed over for their first try, which Ian Mort goaled, before winger Kevin Penny slipped a pass back inside for centre Tom Armstrong to cross and Mort again improved.
Armstrong raced in for his second try after 65 minutes and Mort tagged on the conversion and alarm bells really started to ring as Ian Watson launched a huge crossfield kick, which Penny gathered in goal to touch down. Mort added another superb goal which reduced the deficit to two points.
Dewsbury survived a huge scare four minutes from time when Ainscough looked to have put Swinton ahead only for his try to be disallowed.
With Dewsbury clinging on, Flanagan capitalised on a Swinton error to race away for a spectacular long range try, which walker improved.
Victory leaves Dewsbury just five points behind sixth placed Keighley ahead of a crucial clash between the two on August 5.
Dewsbury Rams: Scott; Williams, Esders, Faal, Buchanan; Walker, Spaven; Jones, Blake, Crossley, Singleton, Spicer, Tonks. Subs: Nicholson, Cosgrove, Chandler, Flanagan.
Swinton Lions: R Hawkyard; Mort, Reay, Armstrong, Penny; Ainscough, Watson; Mills, Smith, Morrison, Cunniffe, D Hawkyard, Forster. Subs: Holland, Riley, Ashall, Meekin.
Referee: Warren Turley.