Swinton captain Ritchie Hawkyard believes the Lions have the winning blend of experience and potential needed to taste iPro Sport Cup final glory in Blackpool.
The Lions face North Wales Crusaders at Bloomfield Road today (12.00) in the final of the rugby league’s newest competition and Hawkyard, who is a Slaithwaite Saracens product and also appeared for Huddersfield YMCA in rugby union’s National III North last season, is relishing the opportunity to become the first man to hoist the iPro Sport Cup.
Although Swinton have been blowing hot and cold in recent weeks, the full-back is confident they will rise to the occasion in a final which forms part of the Summer Bash, where a full round of Kingstone Press Championship matches is played over two days at the seaside stadium.
“We were playing really well up until the semi-final but our form has dipped in League 1 since then, so this is a great chance for us to show our true colours,” said Hawkyard.
“We have a few younger lads at Swinton but there is plenty of experience in the side as well and we all need to pull together. As a player, you want to play in Cup finals and Saturday is going to be a big day for everyone.
“It’s my first time at Bloomfield Road and I can’t wait. The club hasn’t played in many finals in recent years and it’s going to be a great occasion for our fans. Hopefully they’ll get behind us in big numbers.”
The 29-year-old has fond memories of family holidays in Blackpool and believes the world’s most famous seaside resort will be packed with Rugby League fans making the most of a busy schedule of matches over the Bank Holiday weekend.
“I’ve been a few times with my little one and I’ve been when I was a kid with my mum and dad, it’s a good place with a good family environment,” he said. “It’s also a good place for the lads in the off season, we always have a good time there.
“Hopefully we’re going to come away from this weekend with a special souvenir – the iPro Sport Cup!”