Barrow Raiders fall to Doncaster defeat with pictures & video highlights
Last updated at 16:13, Monday, 11 February 2013
KINGSTONE PRESS RL CHAMPIONSHIP RESULT
BARROW RAIDERS 4 DONCASTER RLFC 14
LIFE in the Championship continues to be tough for Barrow Raiders as they lost their 19-month unbeaten home run on a dour afternoon at Craven Park.
On a day when the atmosphere on the terraces and the play on the field reflected the weather – damp and heavy – Doncaster became the first side since Halifax in July 2011 to come away with the points from a trip to Furness.
It was an afternoon to forget on the terraces, where a crowd of just 876 witnessed a game that at best could be described as ‘one for the connoisseur’.
The conditions did not allow for anything resembling open rugby, the summer game a long way away from the start of the season in a wet February.
Both teams were forced to shove it up their jumper and drive it up the middle of the park – something Barrow did well for the most part, but it was Doncaster who had that little bit extra at the end of their sets to push them up to the Barrow line.
Paul Cooke’s kicking game kept Barrow pinned back for long spells – in the first nine minutes they had only one set to Doncaster’s six and were made to concede three drop-outs by the wily half-back.
In contrast, Sean Casey – so impressive on his debut last week and one of the few highlights against Hunslet – was unable to recreate his form in hard conditions, finding the Doncaster man too often on the full.
When he made them turn around, Casey’s kicking was a menace and allowed Raiders to contain the Dons in their own half, but it was not as regular an occurrence as seven days previously, whereas Cooke and his team-mates rarely failed at all.
Driving up the middle, Barrow matched their visitors for 80 minutes and they were much-improved on their opening-day loss to Hunslet, they just cut not find the final touch.
Cooke’s probing grubbers, holding up in the mud, gave the visitors the upper-hand early on and several times they went close to opening the scoring.
Kyle Kesik and Chris Spurr were both stopped within inches of going in for a score – Spurr in the corner on the last tackle of four back-to-back sets before Barrow had even touched the ball.
Cooke showed his ability with ball in hand too, breaking the Raiders line and sending Craig Fawcett away, only for Liam Campbell to appear on the scene and brilliantly haul him to ground.
The defensive resilience paid off in spades as Barrow finally found a way into the visitors’ half, with Mike Whitehead making a fine forceful run to push them up to the line.
The next play saw Casey take the ball and skip a neat inside pass from near the line into the hands of Dan Toal, who dived over for his first of the season.
Whitehead was close to scoring himself as he barged through and was stopped just shy of the whitewash, while the Dons went closest as winger Dennis Tuffour was tackled into touch right by the corner flag by Max Wiper and Adam Clay.
The remainder of the first half was more huff and puff, neither team looking like scoring and the middle of the park taking a real pounding as it morphed from grass into mud.
The second half went mostly the same way, but for several key moments.
The first was just three minutes in as a Campbell kick on the last tackle was charged down on halfway by Castleford loan signing James Clare, who hacked it on twice and outpaced the cover to ground just before the ball went dead.
Bobbie Goulding Junior added the conversion to put the Dons into a lead they would not relinquish.
They might have done had Campbell’s chip to the corner been reached by Chris Larkin ahead of Tuffour, or if Toal’s take of Casey’s chip near the posts had not been ruled offside by the touch judge as he was leaping to pluck the ball from the air and ground between the sticks.
Those two moments could have switched the momentum, but they were the last real chances Barrow had.
Instead, the final half-hour was a real slog, punctuated by two tries, each with its own moment of controversy.
The first came as Goulding – on dual-registration from Wakefield – finished off a move which carved a hole in the Barrow defence with what seemed a blatant double movement as he went down on his knees in a tackle and then moved the ball over the line.
The second saw the Dons break down the left wing, with a dubious pass to Lee Waterman was allowed to go and then Clay looked to have him tackled five metres short of the line, only for the full-back to ignore the man on his legs, stand up and walk in.
Referee Gareth Hewer saw neither a forward pass nor a completed tackle and it was his decision that was final as the points were added.
The final five minutes were back in the old routine, forward battling forward and neither side giving an inch.
The determination was there all afternoon from Barrow, but the crucial cutting edge was not and they need that little bit extra on the end of their moves if they are to turn guts and effort into points this year.
Barrow Raiders Starting XIII: Dean McGilvray, Adam Clay, Max Wiper, Aaron Low, Chris Larkin, Sean Casey, Liam Campbell, Brad Brennan, Nathan Mossop, Mike Whitehead, Liam Harrison, Kurt Haggerty, Dan Toal.
Substitutes (all used): Liam Finch, Andrew Dawson, Danny Jones, Matthew Haggarty.
Doncaster RLFC Starting XIII: Lee Waterman, Dennis Tuffour, Dan Cowling, James Clare, Liam Kay, Paul Cooke, Craig Fawcett, Mark Castle, Kyle Kesik, Brett Waller, Mike Kelly, Chris Spurr, Bobbie Goulding Jnr.
Substitutes (all used): Mike Emmett, Grant Edwards, Matt Carbutt, Craig Robinson.
Referee: Gareth Hewer (Whitehaven).
10 MINUTES: Dan Toal try, 4-0.
43 MINUTES: James Clare try, Bobbie Goulding Jnr conversion, 4-6.
69 MINUTES: Goulding try, 4-10.
74 MINUTES: Lee Waterman try, 4-14.
First published at 12:25, Sunday, 10 February 2013
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Have your say
Good old Cuffy,the man!with the silly name.I wondered how long it would be before groundsharing raises its head again-happens every time the rugby find themselves struggling.And Cuffy,that Barrow Soccer hater-had to mention it first.
For once juvenile John, I actually agree with you, both teams should ground share at a new probably 6-8000 stadium, built on the same principles that Warrington have where half of ground is seated and other half is standing.
And for what it's worth, any extra support from fans even just at finals is still support and should not be knocked.
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