MIDLANDS Hurricanes coach Rich Squires praised his side’s efforts despite falling to a 54-22 defeat against Swinton Lions in Greater Manchester – their 10th defeat of the season.
The scoreline was perhaps harsh on the Midlands side who more than matched their promotion-chasing opponents for the majority of the game.
Just eight points separated the two teams at the break before Swinton produced a clinical second-half performance to take the game away from the Hurricanes.
The result leaves Hurricanes in eighth place in the Betfred League One table, having won just three games all season.
Squires said: “We competed for large amounts of the game and the score doesn’t reflect how the game went.
“After 60 minutes we had the chance to make it 24-22 but didn’t take it and then conceded the next set, which was a massive game-changer.
“The effort was there from the group but we need to manage the big moments in games and make them go in our favour.”
Midlands struck through well-taken tries from Matty Welham, Kieron Lawton, Ben Stead and Eliot Hall but it was not enough to stop the Lions who powered through the blazing heat to secure victory.
Swinton hooker George Roby crossed for four tries over the course of the afternoon, while there were further scores from Mitch Cox, Jack Hansen, Richard Lepori, Nick Gregson and Jayden Hatton.
The game was scoreless for 12 minutes until Lewis Else’s cut-out pass close to the line played in Cox to bag the first points of the afternoon.
The Lions raced further ahead with back-to-back tries in quick succession from Roby; first scurrying in from close range, and then taking a pass close to the line moments later to open up a potentially daunting lead.
That try sparked the Hurricanes into life as Welham dove over in the corner after Swinton were penalised for a high tackle in front of their own posts.
And Midlands struck again before the half was out as Lawton raced home to score in the corner to leave the game in the balance.
However, Swinton were first to cross after the break when Hansen gathered his own chip ahead before side-stepping a defender to produce an exquisite finish.
Hurricanes hit back immediately through Stead, who performed a fine side-step of his own, to close the gap with a quarter of the match left to play.
The Lions eventually took the game out of Hurricanes reach as Lepori gathered a troublesome cross-field kick to score before Gregson and Hatton struck to make sure of the win.
The visitors managed to grab one final try through Hall, on his return to the Midlands, after a clever chip and chase from George Collins.
Roby rubbed salt into the Hurricanes’ wounds with two tries in the final few minutes to add some gloss to the scoreline.
Hurricanes are next in action at home to league leaders Keighley Cougars on Sunday, July 24 with kick-off at 3pm at Portway.