Match preview written by University of Gloucestershire Sports Journalism student, Patrick Baines.
Kingstone Press League 1 fixture, Sunday 26 April, 3pm, Prince of Wales stadium, Cheltenham
Sunday’s fixture marks a landmark for the All Golds – it’s the club's 50th fixture as a professional outfit.
With wins over South Wales Scorpions and London Skolars, Head Coach Lee Greenwood is satisfied with his team’s start to the season, but is wary of the threat that Swinton will pose. He said: “Last week [36-10 win at London Skolars] was a big result for us. To win away from home was great. I keep saying it but playing against the Northern clubs is always difficult and Swinton will pose a much sterner test.”
Ollie Purslow is ruled out of the game due to suspension, along with Yannic Parker, Brad Mais and Ian Clark who are all away on short term loans. Mark Bowen, who was injured 30 minutes into his debut versus Rochdale, is fit and looks like being involved. Greenwood may also welcome back Ash Haynes, Toby Topham and Scott Claridge.
Swinton have enjoyed a mixed start to life in League 1. The Lions, who were relegated last season from the Championship, drew their opening fixture at home to the North Wales Crusaders before losing 50-12 away to Barrow. They have enjoyed much better fortunes in the League 1 cup and beat Newcastle Thunder in the semi-finals to set up a final against the North Wales Crusaders on May 23rd at Blackpool.
One of the club’s star performers is ex-Salford legend Stuart Littler. The Irish international enjoyed a 12-year stint with the club, scoring 112 tries in 329 games. He joined Swinton after brief spells at Leigh and Rochdale and is also acting as assistant coach to John Duffy.
Swinton have a long and proud history, with three Challenge Cup triumphs and six Premiership titles. Swinton’s most famous player was James ‘Jim’ Valentine. Known as the ‘Lion of Swinton’, he served the club for a remarkable 21 years. His finest hour came in 1900 when he led the Lions to a Challenge Cup final victory over local rivals Salford. Swinton’s 1928 season was as successful as it was unique – they became the first and only club to secure all five available trophies, the premiership title and the four knock out cup competitions. Crowds of 20,000 were common for Swinton where Great British Internationals Billo Rees and the Evans brothers (Bryn and Jack) dominated visiting teams.
Kick off on Sunday is 3pm, but before the game there will be a minute’s applause as a mark of respect for Bev James who sadly passed away at Easter after a long battle with cancer. Bev worked tirelessly for years developing the sport in Gloucestershire and played a huge part in the All Golds' early growth. Her son Jordan is one of Swinton’s best players. The former Gloucestershire Warriors man has enjoyed a stellar career appearing for Widnes, Castleford, Salford and Wigan, as well as captaining Wales at international level. The All Golds look forward to welcoming Jordan and his family on Sunday at the Prince of Wales Stadium.
Tickets: Adult £10, Concessions £5, Students and Under 16s £1. Text commentary will be available on the All Golds website.
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