Swinton grateful for Championship survival chance

James Gordon

The changes to the Championship for 2019 have thrown a lifeline for Swinton, who had been set for relegation to League 1.

The Lions have been involved in a battle with Rochdale to avoid the wooden spoon, with both sides resigned to the drop for several weeks.

But to accommodate an increase to 14 teams for next season, as decided by all the clubs following the RFL EGM yesterday, the team that finishes 11th will be handed a reprieve, while the team in 12th will be given the chance to stay up in a play-off against the loser of the League 1 promotion play-off final.

Lions chairman, Andy Mazey, told the club’s official website: “This now puts destiny in our own hands and gives us a fighting chance to retain our Championship status. I now hope that the game as a whole can move forward.

“This news now makes the final three fixtures of the season absolutely important for this club. We have to maximise our opportunities and I’m sure the Lions fanbase will get right behind the lads.

“We continue with our fight this weekend away to Barrow, and I’m sure a confident and proud group of Swinton fans will be making the trip to support Stuart and the boys in what will be a very important fixture for our future.

“As a club, we will be hoping to retain our 11th placed spot and wish the best to the rest of the league.”

Mazey was praised by his counterparts on Thursday for revealing he would vote against the Super League’s proposals, which did include a recommendation to increase to 14 teams, even though going against it would have ensured Swinton’s survival.

Ultimately, it didn’t matter as the Super League proposals were voted through with 68% of the ballot.

The Lions survived a relegation battle with Oldham last season.

Swinton, who sit two points clear of Rochdale, face trips to Barrow and Batley, either side of a home game against Featherstone.

The Hornets have back to back home games against Dewsbury and Leigh, before finishing off with a trip to Sheffield.