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Monday, 06 July 2015

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Barrow Raiders expel London Skolars to go top - with pictures and video



MAKE no mistake from the scoreline, Barrow Raiders’ ascent to the Championship One summit was never easy.

The 30-point margin as the full-time hooter sounded owed everything to a final 13 minutes when Raiders went from fearing defeat to sealing a big win and going top of the table with five quick-fire tries.

Before James Finch started the scoring spree, Barrow had been under great pressure from a London side far removed from those who have visited Craven Park in the past and with every intention of returning to the capital with the points.

The visitors had thrown everything at the home side and will forever question how they ended up on the wrong end of a 30-point defeat from a game they dominated for at least a half.

They may have been helped for some of that time by a contentious refereeing display by Joe Cobb – who earned the ire of every home supporter by ruling out three Barrow tries and making a series of major calls against them – but the Skolars proved just why they came so close to shocking Whitehaven and Workington on their trips to Cumbria already this year.

That they went ahead early on was of no surprise to anyone who has watched Raiders this season.

They did their usual job of failing to come out of the gates and left a huge hole in defence which former Super League man Michael Worrincy was more than happy to walk through.

Skolars were 6-0 up and only they were making any ground when they had the ball – frequently going from one end of the field to the other, while Barrow struggled to get out of their own half.

James Anthony and Dylan Skee manufactured a great opening which the London side somehow failed to exploit, letting their offloads get the better of them as they tried too hard to create something special rather than taking what was on offer.

Lamont Bryan then broke through the Raiders line from his own half and Worrincy took what looked to be a forward pass to keep on going, feeding John Paxton, who was tackled short of the corner.

Barrow now lost Chris Larkin to a knee injury as he was turned over trying to clear his line – things were getting worse and worse for them as the did not look like breaking London’s defence.

Joe Price was tackled short by James Gordon as Brad Hopkins sent him away and it came as a huge shock when it was Raiders who scored the next points.

A new front row in the shape of James Dandy, Jamie Butler and Andrew Dawson had all appeared on the pitch and the switch worked immediate magic.

Though not touching the ball, they were all in the area when Scott Kaighan put a pass into the hands of Liam Campbell, who turned on the spot and caught everyone out with his movement, allowing him to stroll in by the posts for try number 12 of the season.

The points were welcome relief for a home side who were soon under the cosh once more.

Andy Ballard knocked on when failing to take a Neil Thorman kick 10 metres from his sticks and London pushed on, Ballard needing to take a Skee kick over his line to keep them out.

Anthony almost rolled through a tackle to score in the corner and player/coach Joe Mbu was an inch short of stretching over as he went through a hole on the last tackle.

London were the better side by a street, Thorman pulling off a fine ankle tap on Liam Harrison on a brief Barrow attack.

Another of these rare forays saw Lee Haney reach over the line, but had his score correctly ruled out for bouncing the ball.

Toal too had a score wiped from the game as Haney was properly called offside from a Ballard kick, but the decision to pull Harrison back for a forward pass as he ran in at the start of the second half was the beginning of Mr Cobb’s fall in the home support’s eyes.

Harrison could not be stopped a minute later as Campbell sent him through to make it 12-6, but then came three back-to-back penalties against Barrow that pushed Skolars to the home line.

The third penalty for offside against Jamie Butler was particularly contentious as he came from behind the line with a charging tackle, made all the more frustrating as Rob Thomas barged through to score immediately after.

Those decisions kept going against Raiders – one for a high tackle against Ballard particularly awful as Anthony slipped into his hit, which would have otherwise impacted with his chest.

Ballard did pull off a great tackle to prevent Dave Arnot scoring after he broke through the Barrow defence.

Haney also produced a superb challenge to help push Bryan into touch, a tackle which provoked the Skolars man into a head-first response put on report by Mr Cobb.

The challenge seemed to spark something in Barrow though and it was now they went on their superb scoring run.

Finch was first over the line as Harrison offloaded to Toal and Toal fed the replacement centre – on for Larkin – who had merely to fall over the line.

Ryan Shaw booted a great touchline conversion – the first of several such kicks – and was called on again to add the extras within minutes as Campbell once more showed trickery with his footwork to score his second of the afternoon.

Barrow were straight back at their opponents and this time it was Ballard breaking the line from just inside his own half and going round the outside of opposite number Anthony to erase all doubt of the final result with six minutes to go.

Raiders were in full flow now, though, and in no mood to end the scoring.

A Kaighan 40/20 gave them a scrum 10 metres out and Toal took the ball from the base and exploited a gap to add his own name to the scoresheet.

That seemed to be it as the clock ticked down, but as the game neared the death, Rauiri McGoff broke his duck for the club by powering in from dummy half by the posts.

All of a sudden, Barrow were comfortable 42-12 winners and heading for the top of the table without a care in the world.

What had gone before those final 13 minutes, however, showed how close this match really was and how important those three points might be come the end of the season.

Have your say

Fantastic result against an ever improving london side.

James Gordon was immense, a full 80 mins from a second rower, what an athlete. This kid id special, a real talent which just needs nuturing from darrne holt.

I'm really looking forward to the game on sunday now.

Posted by Dave D on 24 May 2012 at 10:07

great result. personally think Scott Kaighan should be starting pretty much every game. No offense to Darren hlt but he is past his best scott is the future and already better than him!

Posted by jason connell on 22 May 2012 at 23:13

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