THERE wasn't a lot between the teams in this second round Betfred Challenge Cup tie at Heywood Road, but the Lions were slightly the better and deserved to go through.

Neither coach could be truly happy after a scrappy game in which both sides struggled to cope with the wind and consequently made heaps of handling errors.

Swinton's Stuart Littler at least has the satisfaction of going through to round three of the Challenge Cup and the semi-final of the 1895 Cup, but on this evidence one wonders whether either side can afford such luxuries as well as trying to keep hold of a place in the highly-competitive Betfred Championship.

In the words of that ages-old sporting adage, Oldham's Matt Diskin can now "concentrate on the league" – and on the strength of what we saw here that will be more than enough for one season, thank you.

Oldham won the toss and elected to play into the wind.

At the time it looked a good move and that view was strengthened when they went in at half-time only 6-4 down and still to enjoy the benefits of the stiff breeze for the next 40 minutes.

They had surrendered an amazing amount of possession in the first half by trying to force passes or attempting to go wide without first establishing a platform forward.

Surely that wouldn't happen in the second half, would it? It did.

Martyn Reilly and Liam Bent Roughyeds Swinton

Martyn Reilly and Liam Bent Roughyeds Swinton

On top of that, Swinton got their act together more, played better with ball in hand against the wind and did enough – just – to capitalise on a Roughyeds defence that lost some of its venom in the second half.

Swinton took the lead as early as the fifth minute when they moved the ball to the right at half-way and found wide, open spaces down Oldham's left flank which provided Rhodri Lloyd with ample space in which to give centre Sam Grant a walk-in from well out.

Martyn Ridyard kicked an easy goal. the first of his three from four attempts.

Ridyard, as expected, bossed the game without ever copping the rough treatment handed out by the Lions to his opposite number Lewis Charnock.

Maybe one reason for that was the fact that when Swinton moved the ball, Ridyard and his backs were deployed much deeper than Oldham were when they had the ball.

Couple Oldham's 'flat' deployment with the home side's line speed in defence and Charnock and Co often ran into heavy traffic and ball-and-man situations, leading to lost possession.

Most of the first half was played out in Swinton's half but Oldham couldn't make their territorial advantage count, safe for one occasion when Tyler Dupree made a strong break and Danny Langtree finished off with the try.

Liam Kirk looks to make a tackle

Liam Kirk looks to make a tackle

Despite their lack of cutting edge, Roughyeds must have been fancied to go through at half-time, but on the restart the Lions extended their lead when Luke Waterworth sent in Will Hope and Ridyard's goal gave them a 12-4 advantage.

Oldham quickly made it 12-10 when a short ball from Charnock fashioned a try for Dupree, which Abram goaled.

After that, Oldham's attacking errors and frustrations went from bad to worse. The more mistakes they made, the more they tried to force the pass and, as a result, the game slipped away from them.

Eleven unanswered points in the next 20 minutes, seven of them coming from Ridyard with a try, a conversion and a dropped goal, gave them a 23-10 lead and it was all over.

In the dying minutes of a disappointing, scrappy tie, Ben Heaton got over in the corner after good work by Charnock and Abram, but it was of academic value only.

The sides meet again on Friday in the league and one imagines that, if they could win only one of these two, Oldham and Diskin would opt for Championship points.

Swinton: Butt; Lepori, Grant, Cox, Roberts; Ridyard, Hansen; Brogan, Waterworth, Hatton, Lloyd, Gregson, Hope. Subs (all used): Brickhill. Brown, Nash, Meadows.

Oldham: Abram; Brierley, Heaton, Roberts, Ince; Charnock, Barran; Kirk, Owen, Reilly, Bridge, Langtree, Bent. Subs (all used): Dupree, Spencer, Pick, Green.

Scorers: Swinton - drop goal, Ridyard; goals. Ridyard 3/4; tries, Grant, Hope, Ridyard, Meadows. Oldham - goals Abram 1/3; tries, Langtree, Dupree, Heaton.

Referee: Tom Grant