Swinton Lions 22
Dewsbury Rams 17
Despite leading for the majority of the contest, and hammering over a late point to regain their advantage, Dewsbury Rams suffered a heartbreaking last-gasp defeat at Swinton.
The Rams led 16-4 at an advanced stage of the second half and Michael Knowles kicked a drop-goal in the 78th minute to edge the visitors in front.
But Gavin Bennion’s last-minute try after the Lions had won back the restart snatched victory for the hosts.
Swinton enjoyed early pressure on the Rams line following back-to-back penalties, but Rob Fairclough knocked on with a possible overlap outside him.
Liam Forsyth was safe under Simon Brown’s kick at the other end, but the Lions knocked on three tackles later to hand Dewsbury another opportunity.
Daniel Igbinedion was caught in possession on the last tackle, and the Rams conceded a third penalty for holding down, which sparked a scuffle between Robbie Ward and Bennion.
The Lions remained on the front foot, but over-cooked a move right and once again the ball was spilled.
The Rams had their first penalty soon after and another chance to open the scoring, but Brown’s short ball to Knowles didn’t stick and the hosts had possession again.
Tempers flared once more shortly after, and Swinton’s Lewis Hatton was shown a yellow card after being penalised for a swinging arm in the tackle.
That laid the platform for the Rams to go in front.
Neat interplay on the left flank created an opportunity that Andy Gabriel grabbed with both hands after receiving a short ball from Dale Morton.
Finn was unable to add the goal from the left touchline but the Rams remained on top and came close to extending their lead when Finn turned the ball inside for Chris Annakin, after Adam Ryder and Ward had laid a platform.
That second score did follow after the Rams’ halves combined to find Morton, who shook off a diving tackle to snake over.
Finn’s goal made it 10-0 to Lee Greenwood’s side with just over ten minutes of the first half remaining.
Swinton had the opportunity to respond when Annakin was penalised for a spear tackle, but Gabriel did just enough to put Forsyth in touch as the Lions winger headed for the tryline.
The hosts did get off the mark shortly before half-time when Matty Ashton connected with a left to right move that saw the Rams defenders outnumbered.
Rob Fairclough’s conversion attempt faded wide so the Rams retained a six-point lead at the interval.
Dewsbury’s kick off to start the second half bounced awkwardly and the visitors won the ball back, but they were unable to capitalise on their early opportunity.
Instead, Swinton won a penalty for holding down and attacked, but Fairclough’s grubber on the last tackle was easily snapped up by Igbinedion.
A handling error and then a penalty to Swinton kept the Rams on the back foot, although an obstruction call from referee Michael Mannifield let Dewsbury off the hook.
The Rams had their own opportunities to add to their tally during the early stages of the second half, but lacked a killer play on the fourth and fifth tackles.
And the end-to-end start to the half continued as Rhodri Lloyd was carted into touch as the Lions attacked, before the Rams that got the half’s crucial first score.
Rob Worrincy collected Morton’s short ball on the overlap and danced over the line. Finn’s goal made it 4-16.
The Rams had chances to kick a drop goal in the minutes that followed, but poor decision making on the fourth and fifth tackles kept Swinton in the tie.
The hosts had hope when Knowles was sin-binned for retaliation, and they were back to within six when Liam Paisley ran a good line and jinked over for Swinton’s second try.
Fairclough’s goal made it 10-16 with just over 15 minutes remaining.
Swinton had all the momentum and poured forward in search of a levelling score.
Morton produced a crucial touch to deny the hosts a third score, and he released Gabriel to lay a platform for the visitors.
But the Lions did go level with just over five minutes remaining when Bennion burrowed over from short range. Fairclough’s goal made it 16-16.
Knowles then booted over what they believed would be a decisive drop-goal, to make it 16-17, after the Lions had closed down Finn.
But there was heartbreak in the final moments for Dewsbury.
Hesitant play from the visitors allowed the the Lions to win back their kick-off, and Bennion was on hand to score under the posts three tackles later.
Fairclough added the goal and Sami Kibula was shown a red card following a melee in the in-goal area after the try was scored to cap a miserable final moments of the tie for Greenwood’s side.
Rams: Dale Morton, Rob Worrincy, Daniel Igbinedion, Adam Ryder, Andy Gabriel, Simon Brown, Liam Finn, Tom Garratt, Robbie Ward, Chris Annakin, Lucas Walshaw, Michael Knowles, Kyle Trout. Interchanges: Sam Day, Jordan Andrade, Samy Kibula, Ben Kilner.
Swinton: Matty Ashton, Mike Butt, Rhodri Lloyd, Liam Paisley, Liam Forsyth, Jack Hansen, Rob Fairclough, Gavin Bennion, Luke Waterworth, Lewis Hatton, Frankie Halton, Jack Wells, Liam Byrne. Interchanges: Billy Brickhill, Adam Jones, Paddy Jones, Adam Lawton.
Referee: Michael Mannifield