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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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Haven silence the roar of the Swinton Lions

SOME 63 years to the day after making their professional bow with a home win over Hull, Haven proved on Sunday there was still plenty of life in the club.

Still battling to secure a home game in the play-offs Haven did not lack incentive while Swinton had already secured the Championship One title and automatic promotion.

It’s impossible to be sure if the Lions were below par, but you could certainly say Haven were playing near the top of their game.

With the play-offs looming, they appear to have regained the momentum they lost when suffering heavy defeats at Oldham and Swinton last month.

Carl Sice, with another two tries,was outstanding once again, while ex-Hull prop Paul King produced a powerful performance against Swinton’s aggressive pack. He should be a huge asset over the final few games of the campaign.

Andrew Beattie tackled anything that moved and scrum-half Carl Rudd produced one of his best efforts of the season, laying on both of Sice’s tries.

Sice started at hooker, with regular starting No.9 Smith at stand-off for Chris Gerrard, who was sidelined by illness.

And Sice wasted no time in making his mark, taking Rudd’s lob over the defence with ease to touch down under the sticks on nine minutes.

Rudd notched the first of his seven goals and was soon involved in the action again, dabbing to the corner for Craig Calvert to chase.

The winger was unable to ground the ball cleanly under pressure but made no mistake moments later, galloping 60 metres to score following good work from Andreas Bauer.

Keen Haven tackling forced a couple of Swinton errors, Rudd again chipping the defence on 31 minutes for Sice to cross for his second try.

The scorer turned provider four minutes later, chipping 40 metres out, in a planned move, Benson hoofing ahead and beating Richie Hawkyard to the line for the fourth touch down.

Haven’s defence, outstanding in the first-half, was breached within a minute of the second-half start.

The hosts fumbled from the kick-off and sub Joe Fitzpatrick made them pay, Ian Mort converting.

Swinton looked set to strike again when the dangerous Mort was put in the clear in the shadow of Haven’s posts, following good approach work from Phil Joseph.

McAvoy tackled the winger from behind, but Lee Doran was then judged, rather harshly, to have interfered after the tackle was completed, and sin-binned.

The visitors opted to run the penalty but could find no way through the determined defence.

Instead, it was Haven who struck, Sice again providing the impetus. His dangerous kick for Smith was knocked dead, but after Swinton dropped out they were penalised for interference and Rudd slotted a penalty.

Sice sparked the move that put the game beyond the Lions on 57 minutes. Rudd and Miller also handled before McAvoy completed the move out wide.

That was the signal for Sice to take a well-earned break, though Haven still had a couple of tries in their locker.

The first came on 61 minutes when Doran’s long pass found Rudd in space, Miller chiming on to the ball at pace to score, Rudd’s conversion pushing out the score to 36-6.

Swinton hit back with a couple of scores, Mort crossing in the right corner after Calvert rushed out of the defensive line and missed his man.

And winger Rob Foxen then added another, this time on the left flank.

Fittingly, Haven had the final say, their decision to spurn a potential penalty goal after a Swinton infringement paying off when Smith burrowed over from dummy-half.

Haven: Benson, Bauer, Wiper, McAvoy, Calvert, C Smith, Rudd, Hill, Sice, King, Doran, Isakka, Beattie. Subs: Dalton, Farrer, Cullnean, S Miller.

Tries: Sice, 2, Calvert, Benson, McAvoy, Miller, Smith

Goals: Rudd 7

Lions: R Hawkyard, Foxen, Dodd, Reay, Mort, Ainscough, Ashall, Morrison, Smith, Thompson, D Hawkyard, Rigby, Gorski. Subs: Joseph, Wilson, Fitzpatrick, Gallagher.

Tries: Fitzpatrick, R Hawkyard, Foxen

Goals: Mort 2

Attendance: 863

Referee: G Dolan

Star Man: Carl Sice

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