That was how York Wasps' report card would have read after a spirited, if not spectacular, performance in last night's 30-14 defeat by Swinton Lions.

The commitment seemed to have returned, at least to some extent, but unfortunately nothing is going right for the Wasps and as one problem is solved so another surfaces.

This time it wasn't so much defensive weaknesses down the flanks as basic errors and crucial missed tackles down the middle.

One major bonus was the veteran right wing combination of Dean Thomas and new signing Simon Irving. With a combined age of 67, they added some much needed experience while proving that they can still provide the finishing touch.

Both players scored tries, with Irving setting up Thomas to score his first for York since September 1995.

Irving ran onto Craig Robinson's well timed pass on the halfway line and drew the full back before finding Thomas in support to touch down.

Though Irving missed the conversion, it brought York back into the game after a try by second rower Phil Cushion, converted by scrum half Ian Watson, had given Swinton an ominous first minute lead.

It was credit to York that they fought back and held their own for much of the first half when in previous weeks they may have folded.

Even after former St Helens ace Paul Loughlin added another converted try after 20 minutes, the Wasps came back.

With Gareth Dobson watching from the stands following his recall from Castleford, it was left to loanee Robinson to fill the scrum-half shirt.

He appeared to be up for the challenge with an encouraging, lively display. It was another fine ball by Robinson which sent Irving away for his first try. Irving showed the ball to Thomas and as the defence stood off he straightened up and raced through the cover to score in the corner.

Again he was unlucky with a difficult conversion but the Wasps were still in contention, with Robinson the chief instigator. His only mistake was occasionally trying to do too much, possibly to compensate for stand-off Mark Cain who had a rare off-day.

The rest of the back line, including full-back Andy Preston and the left flank of Andy Lambert and Matt Woodcock, all came up with the goods. And the pack, as usual, grafted all night.

Which begged the question - what went wrong? There wasn't much difference between the sides but a five minute spell either side of half-time, in which Swinton extended their lead to 12 points, proved crucial.

A superb pass by Watson was taken on the burst by loose forward Paul Smith and, as Preston closed in to tackle, he had Richard Henare on his inside to score a cracking try.

Watson's conversion made the half-time score 18-8 then five minutes into the second half York conceded a penalty in front of their own sticks for raking the ball out and Watson banged over the kick.

That left York needing to score three times and, in their desperation, the mistakes began appearing. Although Cain was brought down just short after a good chip and chase, it was Swinton who looked the more likely scorers.

The killer blow came midway through the half when Cushion did well to get the ball out of a tackle to centre Phil Coussons who brushed past Preston to score under the posts.

Five minutes later Coussons was in again when he capitalised on some poor tackling.

In recent weeks York have allowed teams to run up cricket scores in the closing stages so it was encouraging that they showed enough character to have the final say as Cain shrugged off two defenders to score a solo try which Irving converted.

After the game there was plenty of criticism from some York fans among the Stadium's lowest ever crowd, but then many hadn't seen the woeful games at Oldham and Whitehaven. Believe me, on this performance things are definitely looking up.

Northern Ford Premiership Wednesday, May 10, at Huntington Stadium

York Wasps 14, Swinton Lions 30

YORK WASPS: Andy Preston 7, Dean Thomas 7, Simon Irving 8, Andrew Lambert 7, Matt Woodcock 7, Mark Cain 6, Craig Robinson 7, Craig Forsyth 7, Alan Pallister 7, Steve Hill 8, Spencer Hargrave 7, Andy Hill 7, Paul Darley 7.

Subs: Kevin Gray ( for Robinson 60mins) 6, Mick Ramsden (Hargrave 61) 7, Chris Judge (Darley 35) 6, Mick Hagan (Forsyth 69) -.

Re-subs: Robinson for Cain 74.

Tries: Thomas (8mins), Irving (27), Cain (72)

Conversions: Irving 1

Guildford Construction/ Evening Press Man of the Match

Simon Irving: Couldn't have asked for a better debut - except to be on the winning side. Scored one try, made another and pulled off some great tackles.

SWINTON: Wayne English, Jason Roach, Phil Coussons, Matt Bateman, Richard Henare, Paul Loughlin, Ian Watson, Matthew Knowles, Jimmy Evans, Ian Pickavanve, Ryan Stazicker, Phil Cushion, Paul Smith.

Subs: Andy Craig (for Bateman 39mins), John Neill (Knowles 69), Craig Randall (Stazicker 28), Marlon Billy (English 53).

Tries: Cushion (1min), Loughlin (20), Henare (34), Coussons (59, 65)

Conversions: Watson 4

Penalties: Watson 1

Match statistics

York Swinton

Penalties: 7 7

Scrums won 17 10

40/20 kicks: 0

Half-time: 8 18

Referee: Ian Smith (Oldham)

Attendance: 377

Match rating: 7/10

York's next match: versus Sheffield at the Don Valley Stadium in the Northern Ford Premiership on Sunday, May 14, kick-off 3.15pm