The sun shone brightly today though the air still chilled. Rather than freeze in the stand we took our places on the terraces opposite to be in the sun. Watching from lower down gives a different impression of the game. It seems faster, more immediate, more personal - especially if the touch judge is as good at giving back the abuse hurled at him by disgruntled spectators.
The visitors were Keighley who had impressed by beating Oldham the previous week. Swinton cut them apart. Playing glorious running rugby they swept to a 20-0 lead in only fifteen minutes. Too good to be true? This is Swinton; of course it was.
Keighley started to recover, improved dramatically and kept pressing. With ten minutes to go they had levelled the scores at 28-28. A dramatic comeback was on. But it was to be Swinton who snatched the winning try after picking up a dropped ball and then securing the lead with a penalty in front of the posts to scrape home 36-28.
Great entertainment. It confirmed my sense that, at the moment, it is the Championship that is delivering the most entertaining football, rather than Super League. The quality may not be as high, but it is fun to watch. For Swinton, with a nice blend of youth and experience, there is optimism. Could this be a promotion year at long last? Next season it might just be Toulouse in the Spring.
(Thanks to Peter Green for the photo)