LEADING 18-0 early in the second half, Oldham survived an impressive Lions fightback to win a thriller 22-18 at Bower Fold.
In a particularly physical derby clash, two players were sin-binned and two other incidents were placed on report by referee Liam Moore.
First to go for a breather, in the 34th minute, was Swinton’s Anthony Bate for pushing and shoving Michael Ward off the ball.
Oldham lost dual-reg Mikey Wood two minutes from time for kicking a dead ball away and slowing down a Lions re-start as the clock was ticking down.
Among the highlights of another Bower Fold thriller were three sledgehammer one-on-one hits late in the game by first Adam Neal, then Danny Langtree, then Michael Ward.
For those who like their rugby league rough, tough and in the raw those tackles alone were well worth the admission money.
Lions lost their loose-forward and captain Andy Thornley with a knee injury in the tenth minute, then second-row man Oliver Davies hobbled off on crutches after half an hour, to be followed just before half-time by Ben Austin, who looked to have a facial injury.
Despite these setbacks, Lions outscored Roughyeds three tries to one in the second half and got to within four points of their hosts, with seven minutes left, to set up a heart-stopping finale.
Roughyeds won the toss and elected to play up the slope, as they usually do.
They led 12-0 at half-time with tries by Sammy Gee and Richard Lepori, the first from dummy half, the second when Langtree executed a perfect, one-handed pass to send ‘Lippy’ over the line — a carbon copy of a try at Toulouse last week.
When Oldham resumed down the slope for the second half and, within two minutes, stretched their lead to 18-0 with a Michael Ward try and Scott Leatherbarrow’s third goal, those fans of a Roughyeds persuasion felt they could sit back and relax.
Lions thought differently and played some terrific second-half rugby to push the home side all the way.
Leatherbarrow landed a couple of penalties, first to establish a 20-6 lead and then and secondly to push his side out to 22-12.
Swinton, meantime, ran in three converted tries by playing some quick, decisive rugby to get the ball wide. Shaun Robinson and Chris Hankinson scored down Oldham’s left flank and Jack Murphy crossed down the Roughyeds’ right side, with Chris Atkin adding the extras each time.
Oldham held on to pick up their third win, all at home, thanks to a strong, all round team performance in which Richard Lepori, Adam Neal, Sammy Gee, Danny Langtree and Michael Ward were stand-out players.
Neal, the club’s official man of the match, completed the full 80 minutes — an astonishing feat in the modern game.
Oldham — goals, Leatherbarrow 5/5; tries, Gee, Lepori, Ward.
Swinton — goals, Atkin 3/3; tries, Robinson, Hankinson, Murphy.
OLDHAM: Lepori, Clay, Tyson, Grimshaw, Turner; Leatherbarrow, Hewitt; Neal, Owen, Burke, Langtree, Wood, Thompson, Subs: Ward, Bent, Hughes, Gee.
SWINTON: Murphy; Robinson, Hankinson, White, Butt; Gore, Atkin; Bracek, Nicholson, Barlow, Dwyer, Davies, Thornley. Subs: Bate, Lever, Waterworth, Austin.
Ref: Liam Moore; Att: 804.