ROCHDALE HORNETS 54, SWINTON LIONS 20: Lions suffered their first defeat in the Northern Rail Cup Group Two, as Coach Paul Kidd took the opportunity to rest several players, as the Lions have already secured their place in the play-off stages.

Hornets took the lead in the second minute when Mark McCully converted a simple penalty goal, but the Lions hit back quickly when Warren Ayres sent Lee Patterson racing in on the right.

McCully levelled the scores with a 12th minute penalty and then he added a try and goal three minutes later.

Watson was sent to the sin bin for holding down on 25 minutes. While he was off the field Hornets ran in two more tries, with Andy Gorski and McCully going in and McCully adding goals to both to put Hornets in total command.

On the final tackle of the half John Braddish went over in the corner for a simple try to give Hornets a 20 point cushion at the break.

He added a second try in the 47th minute and again McCully added the goal, but the Lions hit back three minutes later when Irwin raced in at the corner for a try.

The next touchdown was a bizarre one. The Lions had a flowing move in the Hornets' final quarter and as the ball was moved into the middle Hornets' second row man Lee Doran got boot to ball as he faced his own line and the ball went towards the right corner where Sarfraz Patel was on hand to chase, collect and score in the corner.

This seemed to spark Hornets back to life and Gorski and Braddish both added tries in a three minute period and McCully added two conversions and a penalty goal.

Irwin was then dispatched to the bin for holding down and within four minutes Hornets scored again with Chris Campbell racing in from a Braddish pass.

The Lions hit back when Wayne English sent Chris Maye over on the left and again the conversion was missed. Radney Bowker then slipped a Patel tackle to score by the posts and McCully added the goal.

The Lions scored their fifth try in the final minute when Danny Heaton broke through to send Irwin racing over for his second.

On Good Friday the Lions return home to Park Lane to welcome Blackpool Panthers in the final game in this preliminary round, before travelling to the Huntington Stadium to open their National Two league campaign against York City Knights on Easter Monday.

Lions: English, Oldham, Patterson, Maye, Irwin, Ayres, Watson, Heaton, Crabtree, Rogers, Gardner, Sinfield, Marsh, Patel, Hodson, Speakman, Whittaker

Ian Rigg