Sheffield Eagles bounced back from their defeat in France last week to beat Swinton 30-24 in the opening fixture on day two of the Kingstone Press Championship Summer Bash.
After a scrappy first half Eagles took control with two tries from hooker Matty Fozard before a late fightback fell short from Swinton.
Sheffield had the best of field position in the first few minutes and new boy Jack Owens spilled a pass as the Eagles looked to switch play left after a couple of thunderous charges from Scott Wheeldon and Mark Mexico.
Swinton moved downfield themselves in the fifth minute, but loose hands gave the Eagles possession and a kick from Simon Brown proved uncomfortable before Sheffield gave their third penalty away.
From this, Swinton broke through Adam Jones but the move petered out.
Paddy Flynn almost slipped the defence for Sheffield after nine minutes. Good defence after eleven minutes saw a driving tackle force Shaun Robinson in touch and although the Lions applied a little pressure, they couldn’t get through.
An attack in the 16th minute showed more promise with only the outstretched arms of Garry Lo saving the Eagles.
Eighteen minutes in an error from Mike Butt invited Sheffield into the twenty but they couldn’t take advantage with Scott Wheeldon’s collision with the posts being the most noteworthy thing about the attack.
Chris Atkin then twice kicked ahead and Owens was forced to nudge the ball dead. In the next sixty seconds Jack Murphy was brought down on the right before Swinton finally opened the scoring two plays later as Atkin shrugged off a defender and touched down at the side of the posts. He also goaled to make it 6-0.
An error from Robinson put pressure on the defence with Brown forcing a drop out for the Eagles. Again scrappy play from the Eagles squandered possession while Sam Scott and Josh Barlow had a disagreement and had to be spoken to by referee Jack Smith.
Ten minutes before half-time Swinton were penalised for offside and Sheffield struck.
Matt James, Scott and Kyle Trout all softened the defence up for Matty Fozard to burrow under the tacklers for the Eagles opener. Simon Brown goaled and the game was level, 6-6.
Within a minute an error from Jordan Cox gifted Swinton possession and a further penalty was put between the posts by Atkin for a narrow Swinton lead.
As the clock ticked down Duane Straugher was stopped short of the line and a double keck forward by Elliot Minchella was fielded bravely by Murphy. It meant the Lions could enjoy an 8-6 lead at the break.
The scrappy nature of the game continued for the first few minutes of the second half with both teams guilty, although Butt did particularly well under Brown’s high kick.
Sheffield began to take a stranglehold and Will Hope thought he had scored moments later. This was referred to video referee Phil Bentham and after a lengthy consultation the try was awarded with Brown goaling from in front to make it 12-8 to Eagles after 50 minutes.
A good kick and set put Eagles in good territory again and with pressure came points as Menzie Yere touched down on the left. Brown goaled from the touchline and finally there was tangible daylight between the teams with 25 minutes to play.
Swinton went short with the restart, spilling possession and Sheffield went to the other end and forced a drop out. From this Yere sent Garry Lo over but Brown missed the conversion to leave the score at 22-8.
Inside the last twenty minutes Sheffield began to enjoy themselves and a deft grubber from Brown was touched down by Fozard for his second of the game. Brown’s fourth goal made it 28-8.
Then after Mexico’s destructive run Fozard and Brown fed James and he reached out but the video referee ruled a double movement. Next with twelve minutes remaining Ben Blackmore saw a try disallowed. With ten minutes remaining Brown kicked a penalty.
Swinton pulled a try back through Shaun Robinson and Atkin quickly added the extras to make it 30-14.
The Lions scored again through Connor Farrell and another try before the end from Ben Austin, converted by Atkin closed the gap to 30-24 but it just proved too much for Swinton.
Sheffield Eagles: Jack Owens, Garry Lo, Menzie Yere, Paddy Flynn, Ben Blackmore; Simon Brown, Elliot Minchella; Scott Wheeldon, Matty Fozard, Mark Mexico, Matty James, Sam Scott, Will Hope. Subs: Liam Johnson, Kyle Trout, Duane Straugher.
Swinton Lions: Jack Murphy, Shaun Robinson, Chris Hankinson, Rhodri Lloyd, Mike Butt; Grant Gore, Chris Atkin’ Andy Bracek, Luke Warerworth, Ben Austin, Connor Farrell, Adam Jones, Rob Lever. Subs: Caine Barnes, Anthony Nicholson, Anthony Bate, Josh Barlow.
Referee: J. Smith.