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Saturday, 22 November 2014

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Finch aims to mark Raiders century with Haven victory

TON-UP half-back Liam Finch hopes to mark his 100th appearance for Barrow Raiders with a Cumbrian derby win over Whitehaven on Sunday.

The 26-year-old Walneyite – who had an unhappy seven-game spell with Haven in 2008 – will bring up the century when he steps on to the field at the Recreation Ground.

Finch, whose elder brother James could be next in line to reach the milestone, as he currently sits on 86 appearances, said: “It’s a big honour to play for your hometown club 100 times – it has taken a bit of time getting there with injuries and such, but hopefully I can play another hundred or so.

“Hopefully there’s another five or six years left for me at the club.

“I always look forward to a Cumbrian derby. It’s nothing to do with it being an old club in Whitehaven though, I was only there for seven games and I didn’t really enjoy it, so I don’t really class it as a former team.

“Hopefully I’ll play this weekend, but I’m not certain where at yet.

“With James Dandy getting injured at the weekend, I might play at nine, but I’m not sure whether Jack Pedley is available for selection or not yet.”

Finch faces tough competition for a place in the Barrow team this season, with player/coach Darren Holt, Liam Campbell and Scott Kaighan all gunning for a place in the half-backs and Dandy, Pedley and Brad Marwood at hooker.

But, now in his fourth spell at Raiders after playing for Cumbrian rivals Haven and Workington since his 2004 debut, Finch is hopeful he can stake a strong claim.

“I still want to establish myself more so I can play every week – especially this year, with the amount of half-backs we have got,” he said.

“I can play at hooker as well this year and I want to try and get in that starting 17 every week.

“It’s as tough as it has ever been to get in the side this year. Everyone is training hard, but there will be injuries as well, so there will be chances.”

Victory at Whitehaven on Sunday will see Barrow through to the Northern Rail Cup quarter-finals should results elsewhere go their way – they need either Hunslet or Leigh to lose or Sheffield to thrash York. Finch knows it would be a big feat to be the only Championship One side in the last eight, but also recognises priorities this season lie elsewhere.

“If we can get through it will be a big achievement,” he said.

“We’re not expecting to win the competition this year – the season is all about promotion – but it would put a mark down and make people think twice about coming up to Craven Park this season.”

l Barrow Raiders will hold a dinner dance at the Lisdoonie Hotel, Barrow, on Saturday, March 24.

Tickets cost £30 and include a three-course meal and entertainment. They are available from the Rugby Shop, Scott Street, or from any club director.

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