Swinton Lions


Swinton Lions

Infobox_esl_club | clubname = Swinton Lions


fullname = "Swinton Lions Rugby League Club"
emblem = Lion
colours = Blue with a white chevron
founded = 1866
sport = Rugby league
league = National League Two
ground = Park Lane, Sedgley Park
web = [http://www.swintonlionsrlc.co.uk www.swintonlionsrlc.co.uk]

Swinton Lions is a British rugby league club from Swinton and Pendlebury, Greater Manchester, England. The club has an impressive record in rugby league considering the size of the town with six Championships and three Challenge Cup wins.

History

Early years

The club was formed in October 1866 when members of Swinton Cricket Club decided to take up football in the winter. In 1871 they joined the Rugby Football Union, under the name Swinton and Pendlebury FC, playing at their Station Road ground in the town. Their first game was against "Eccles Standard".

They moved from playing at a field in the Station Road area in 1873 to a ground known as Stoneacre, and used the nearby White Lion public house as changing rooms. They have been known as The Lions ever since.

The first rugby match under floodlights took place in Salford, between Broughton Rangers and Swinton on October 22 1878.

In 1886 they moved again to their Chorley Road ground. By this time the Lions had become a very strong team, and played the likes of Oxford University. They were initially reluctant to join the new Northern Union, but did so on 2 June 1896 due to the fact that the majority of other teams in the region had done so, causing financial hardship to the club. The Northern Union was then split into two county leagues.

In 1900 they won the Challenge Cup defeating Salford at Fallowfield, Manchester.

On Saturday 8th September 1906, Swinton hosted a Pontefract team who arrived with only 12 players. The Lions scored 18 tries in a club record 76-4 victory. This record would stand for ninety years but three months later when the Lions visited Pontefract they lost 5-0.

In 1925 they won the Lancashire Cup. In 1926 they won the Challenge Cup again.

Swinton were the final team to win All Four Cups; they were also the only side from Lancashire to achieve this feat (Hunslet and Huddersfield were the two other clubs). In addition to the Championship Trophy, the Challenge Cup, the Lancashire League and the Lancashire Cup; Swinton won a fifth cup, the Salford Royal Hospital Cup, which was competed for by Salford, Broughton Rangers and Swinton. The Lions were a side with a strong Welsh presence, with players like Billo Rees, Rees Thomas, Dai Moses, Ron Morgan and Graham Rees as well as the Cumberland born goal-kicking second row forward, Martin Hodgson who signed for Swinton in January 1927. Hodgson still holds the long distance penalty goal record with a kick of over 77 yards (at Rochdale, 1940).

The 1927-28 season saw the Lions sweep all before them, under the captaincy of centre Hector Halsall. They topped both the Championship and the Lancashire League, having already defeated Wigan in the Lancashire Cup. In a tense Challenge Cup Final they squeezed past Warrington 5-3, and three weeks later the Holy Grail was achieved when they comfortably eased past Featherstone Rovers 11-0 to take the Rugby League Championship.

In 1929, the club then moved to a new stadium back at their original home of Station Road. The decision to purchase land next to the railway line, was made after a breakdown in negotiations with their existing landlord at Chorley Road. This soon became a favoured ground for major fixtures.

Martin Hodgson played his last game for Swinton in December 1940. In 1941-42 Swinton abandoned the Lancashire League due to the Second World War and did not return until the 1945-6 season.

Post war

Swinton became winners of the Rugby League Championship in seasons 1962-63 and 1963-64, during a decade that saw the club enjoy the services of star players such as John Stopford and Albert Blan.

When two divisions were reintroduced in 1973, Swinton were out of the top flight, and have struggled to regain their former glories ever since. In 1992, financial mis-management necessitated the sale of Station Road for property development. The club relocated to Gigg Lane, the home ground of Bury F.C.. This sudden move caused the club to lose many supporters.

ummer rugby league era

In 1996 Swinton officially added 'Lions' to their name. Peter Roe led Swinton to promotion from Division Two in 1996. The former Great Britain captain, Mike Gregory was the head coach of the club between 1998 and 2001.

The financial failure of major creditor and de facto owner Hugh Eaves in 2002 put the future of the club in jeopardy and they spent a short time regrouping at Moor Lane in Kersal, Salford as tenants of Salford City FC. Since 2003, the Lions have played their home games at Park Lane, Whitefield, home of Sedgley Park R.U.F.C..

Peter Roe quit as coach of Swinton Lions in September 2003, after less than a year in charge.

In May 2007, Swinton Lions went into administration for about 48 hours in order to restructure the club from top to bottom. A new company "Swinton Lions Rugby Club" was set up to remove problems with shareholdings from the previous administration. Currently the club are under the stewardship of Chairman, John Kidd with Paul Kidd the head coach.

The return to M27

In 2006, the return to Swinton and Pendlebury was taken one step further when club chairman, John Kidd, announced on the 9th August that the club had acquired a site to build a 6,000 capacity stadium with training facilities and community use in Agecroft, Pendlebury.

2009 Squad

"As of 7 October, 2008"

Honours

* Championship "(6 times)": 1926-27, 1927-28, 1930-31, 1934-35, 1962-63, 1963-64
* Challenge Cup "(3 times)": 1899-1900, 1925-26, 1927-28
* Lancashire Cup "(4 times)": 1925-26, 1927-28, 1939-, 1969-70
* Lancashire League "(6 times)": 1924-25, 1927-28, 1928-29, 1930-31, 1939-40, 1960-61
* Second Division: 1984-85

Records

Player records

*Most tries in a match: 6 by Mark Riley vs Prescot Panthers, 11th August 1996
*Most goals in a match: 12 by Ken Gowers vs Liverpool City, 3rd October 1957
*Most points in a match: 30 by:
**Greg Pearce vs Prescot Panthers, 11th August 1996
**Mick Nanyn vs York Wasps, 25th March 2001
*Most tries in a season: 48 by Jim Valentine, 1888-89, (2nd most tries in a season, John Stopford, 42, season 1963-64)
*Most goals in a season: 128 by Albert Blan, 1960-61
*Most points in a season: 310 by Lee Marsh, 2005
*Most career tries: 298 by Jim Valentine, 1884-1901
*Most career goals: 970 by Ken Gowers
*Most career points: 2105 by Ken Gowers
*Most career appearances: 602 ("including 8 as substitute") by Ken Gowers, 1954-1973.
*World record distance for a penalty goal, 77.75 yards by Martin Hodgson, Rochdale Hornets v Swinton, at the Athletic Grounds, Rochdale, 13th April, 1940
*Rugby League Cup, Wigan v Swinton, Golden Moment, Rob Russell touches down after only four minutes against the mighty Wigan. -

*Current Man of Steel: Neil Rigby
*Current Player's Player of the Year: Marlon Billy
*Current Player of the Year: Rob Line

Team records

*Biggest victory: 90-0 vs Prescot Panthers, 11th August 1996
*Heaviest defeat: 10-106 vs Leeds, 11th February 2001
*Highest attendance:
**Club: 26,891 vs Wigan, RL Challenge Cup 1st round replay, Wednesday, 12th February 1964 ( at Station Road )
**Station Road: 44,621 for Warrington vs Wigan, 7th April 1951

External links

* [http://www.swintonlionsrlc.co.uk Official website]
* [http://www.nationalleaguerugby.tv/swintontv/index.html Swinton Lions TV]
* [http://www.rugbyleague.org/index.php?showforum=5 Swinton Lions forum on RugbyLeague.org]
* [http://www.nationalleague.co.uk/ National League website]


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