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Friday, 21 November 2014

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Barrow face Oldham in Challenge Cup: full story and reaction

BARROW Raiders missed out on landing one of Super League’s big fish as they were handed a trip to Oldham in the Challenge Cup fourth round.

The clash will see the current top two in Championship One meet for the second time in 15 days, following this Sunday’s league showdown at Whitebank Stadium.

Player/coach Darren Holt and his men had hoped to bring one of the game’s big sides – the likes of Leeds Rhinos, St Helens or Wigan Warriors – to Craven Park, or to at least get a home tie. But Barrow will travel to Greater Manchester on the weekend of April 14/15 knowing the game is winnable and they have a chance of reaching the last 16.

“As a club at our level you either want a team from your own division, or an amateur club who have got through to the next round to give you a chance of progressing to the fifth round – and that’s exactly what we have got. Or you want a plum draw of a Super League club, where you can get a crowd in, one that the fans can enjoy and you can get a bit of a gate,” said Holt.

“We’ve got the former, we’ve got a club in our own division. It would have been nice if it was at home, but it is what it is.

“I think we will both be looking at that game, both us and Oldham, and saying it is a winnable fixture.

“We’ll know more after this weekend I suppose.”

Barrow defeated French champions Lezignan 32-22 in the third round at Craven Park on Sunday, while Oldham beat West Cumbrian amateurs Egremont Rangers 22-14 at Whitehaven’s Recreation Ground.

They both preceded that with two wins from two in the league, Barrow’s coming against North Wales Crusaders and Doncaster and Oldham’s over Gateshead and Workington to stand as the two top sides in Championship One.

One team at least will lose their 100 per cent record on Sunday as they go head-to-head for the first time, with Holt saying: “These big games just keep coming for us don’t they? It puts a bit more meaning into the game this weekend.

“We will be playing them almost two weeks running, on Sunday, we’ve got a game in between on Good Friday (against Gateshead) and then again the following Sunday. We will be playing them twice in two weeks.

“We will both be able to read more into it after this Sunday’s game.”

Barrow were the third-last team drawn from the hat, with all the Super League clubs having already gone and Holt added: “If you look at who was left in the hat, out of us Hunslet, Oldham and Batley, then I am glad we got Oldham!

“Both clubs will just be looking at it and saying ‘we have got a team in our division’ and you do want one or the other – a team from Super League or a team from your own division to give you a better opportunity of coming away with a result.

“Oldham will be thinking exactly the same thing.

“If you don’t get the plum draw against a Super League club at home, where you are going to get a big gate, then you hope to get through to the next round and have another shot at it.

“Both Oldham and Barrow will be hoping for that now.”

l A Junior Education Training Sessions (JETS) get together will take place for under-12s players from throughout South Cumbria at Craven Park tomorrow night.

The scheme is aimed at non-elite – service area or regional camp – players and will involved top coaches from throughout the area, including Paul Crarey, Dean Marwood and Gary Broadbent, putting both the players and their junior coaches through their paces and showing them new ideas and techniques.

The session – expected to be attended by between 60 and 70 youngsters – will be followed by similar programmes for under-14s and under-16s and is being backed both by Barrow Raiders and the Barrow Sports Council.

Tomorrow’s session will run between 6pm and 7.30pm and all junior players and coaches from the under-12s age group are welcome to attend.

l The Raiders Bar will be open on Thursday to show the Sheffield Eagles v Halifax Championship match on Premier Sports.

The bar will open at 7.15pm, with kick-off at 7.30pm.

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