Setting the scene for Sunday


SCOTT and the boys need no reminding that they have lost two of their three KP Championship games with Swinton Lions this season.

The exception, a tense 26-24 win at Bower Fold last month, was no compensation for a disappointing first half at Heywood Road and a second-half collapse in the Summer Bash game at Blackpool where the Lions won 25-24 from 20-0 down at the break.

Lewis Palfrey’s touchline conversion of Michael Ward’s late try — ruled out by the touchjudges, but confirmed as good by television re-runs — would almost certainly have given Roughyeds a 26-24 win.

In the light of subsequent results, we would have been sitting pretty now with five more points than Swinton and seven more than the two Cumbrian clubs; all but mathematically sure of staying up.

Scott, however, was more concerned about how and why his side surrendered momentum and ended up pointless after an impressive Lions fightback led by Matty Beharrell.

It was a different story in the first of the three derby games. Lions led 24-0 at half-time and we hit back strongly in a 28-18 defeat.

So tight was game three that it yielded 50 points, four tries apiece and five goals from five shots by Lewis Palfrey against Chris Atkin’s four from five — the only separation.

That was one of seven defeats suffered by the Lions in their nine outings since that crazy Summer Bash game.

But that will mean nothing when Roughyeds go to Heywood Road again this Sunday (3pm), needing to be on top form to make a giant leap towards Championship survival and to enhance their possible push for the Shield play-offs.

One point and one place higher in the table, they face opponents who are looking over their shoulders at the bottom two and who will have targeted this game as one they must win at all costs.

“Anything can happen in these games, as we’ve seen already,” said prop Phil Joy, who has re-signed for 2017 after an impressive record of 95 appearances out of a possible 103 in four seasons with Scoyy as boss.

He was given a rare day off last Sunday, but he’s hoping to be back in the 17 at Heywood Road after also missing the Summer Bash game.

He added: “We’ve six games left and we want to finish as high up the table as we can, obviously. We can’t afford to get too far ahead of ourselves. The focus this week is on Swinton, nothing else.

“We were disappointed with ourselves when we played at Heywood Road on Easter Monday.

“It’s difficult to fathom out why sometimes we seem more up for it than others. I didn’t play against Workington last time out, but if we play like we did in that match — aggressive, physical and with the right mental attitude — we’ll be okay.

“In each of the three derby games there have been huge changes of momentum. It just shows how quickly things can change if you switch off, even momentarily. That’s perhaps one of the biggest differences between League One and the Championship.”

Both teams will be looking for big performances from new boys — Scott Turner (Oldham), Jake Emmitt (Swinton).

Turner was an instant hit on debut against Workington, playing at full-back as replacement for injured Richard Lepori. He looked a class act in defence and attack, safe as houses under the high ball and a player who looked to be full of running and full of tries.

He scored two, had another disallowed and had a sniff for the try line whenever Roughyeds were in possession at the Workington end of the field.

Emmitt, a former Leigh Centurions prop, was Swinton’s star man in a 36-24 defeat at Dewsbury after flying in from Australia earlier in the week.

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