Salford Red Devils retained the Peter Smethurst Memorial Trophy with a 26-22 victory over Swinton Lions this afternoon.
Paul Rowley’s first-team side were given the first forty minutes to build some valuable match fitness, with Stuart Wilkinson’s reserves side handed a run-out in the second-half.
Wales international, Rhys Williams was the first on the scoresheet for the Red Devils. A quick passing move from the scrum saw Lafai dart into space and flick the ball over to the winger, who acrobatically dived over in the left corner. Marc Sneyd – back on his usual kicking duty – converted from the touchline.
Our number seven was at the heart of our second try. He danced past multiple Swinton players 10 metres out and spotted his halfback partner, Brodie Croft in acres of space. The Aussie flicked the ball out to the Ken Sio, who had the simple task of strolling over unopposed.
The current Man of Steel was reminding everyone just what he’s capable of minutes later; breaking the Swinton line with incredible vision and pace. This time it was Andy Ackers in support to receive and slide under the sticks.
Rowley handed a Red Devils debut to Ellis Longstaff and the 20-year-old showed the supporters exactly what he was capable of with 22 minutes on the clock. After receiving a stinging pass from Croft, the number 20 twisted away from his man and dived over the try-line to open his account.
There was plenty of chopping and changing, but it was our reliable full-back, Ryan Brierley who extended our advantage further just before the hooter.
Salford did really well to keep the ball alive and Croft combined with Sio to send the former racing away down the right. Just when it looked like our number two was about to be crashed out of touch, he found the supporting Brierley with a sublime pass to nudge off his man and slide over to the right of the sticks.
HALF-TIME: Salford Red Devils 26-0 Swinton Lions
After the break, a whole host of changes saw our reserve lads take to the field to test their ability against some stern Betfred Championship opposition.
The visitors started the second forty of on the front foot and allowed trialist, Joe Lowe to throw a dummy pass and go over the line for Swinton’s first points of the game – converted by Dan Abram.
Swinton scored again minutes later with some simple, yet effective passing down the right edge for Anthony Dyne to slide over in the corner.
Salford’s new number 30, Billy Walkley chased back on 60 minutes to make an excellent try saving tackle. However, his joy was short-lived when Swinton’s Gavin Bennon crashed over the line on the next tackle.
The momentum was purely in Swinton’s favour, as a huge break found the visitors, once again, back on Salford’s try line. Some clever and quick play earned them another four points, but time was against them and Salford’s youthful second-half outfit hung on to clinch the victory.
FULL-TIME: Salford Red Devils 26-22 Swinton Lions
A trip to Wigan Warriors in Sam Powell’s testimonial is next up for the Red Devils. They take on Matt Peet’s side on Sunday 5th February and tickets are still available by clicking HERE.
Photo Credit: Steve McCormick