Harrison and Holt delighted as Raiders seal promotion
Last updated at 12:10, Sunday, 22 July 2012
BARROW Raiders sealed promotion to the Championship with a storming 48-16 victory over Whitehaven at Craven Park.
In front of a national TV audience and a passionate home crowd, Darren Holt’s side trounced their Cumbrian rivals to confirm a place in the Championship One top four.
The coach – whose new two-year deal with assistant Phil Atkinson was announced immediately after full-time – and captain Liam Harrison were both delighted with a victory which sent Raiders back where they belong.
“It’s been hard-earned, but we’ve done enough all year to be in the position we are in now,” said Harrison, one of eight Raiders’ try-scorers as they demolished fourth-placed Haven and put a dent in the West Cumbrians’ promotion hopes.
“It’s good to finally have it nailed on and we can focus on winning the league now.
“It’s always nice to win a derby that convincingly – it certainly wasn’t easy, but our class showed in the end as it always does when we stick to simple sets.”
Harrison was the sixth Barrow try-scorer on a night that more than made up for their disappointing showing at Doncaster at the weekend.
There were no signs of fatigue from that 28-24 loss, despite Haven going into the match on the back of two blank weekends.
Instead, Andy Bracek – switched to the second row and infinitely better than at Doncaster – opened the scoring after the video referee gave the nod for his touchdown and he was followed over the whitewash by Liam Campbell, Lee Haney, James Nixon, Andy Ballard, Jamie Butler, Harrison and Liam Finch.
The manner of the victory mirrored the massive turnaround in fortune for a Barrow side who only nine months ago had been in financial jeopardy, with no coach and no players for the 2012 season.
Holt, who took over at Craven Park in November with assistant Phil Atkinson, was thrilled to be going up to the Championship.
He said: “Promotion is a very big achievement.
“It’s been on the cards now for a couple of weeks – people get their hopes up, but with our loss last week, those hopes dipped a bit.
“But you have to remember where we have come from this season. This is a squad we have put together – full of local boys, a lot of them untested – and look where we are tonight.
“I’m just glad the boys put in that performance tonight, hopefully to a big audience, a big crowd, who can see exactly what we have got going here at Barrow Raiders.
“Hopefully we can keep that continuing and keep improving.
“Hopefully now, this is the turning point. It’s about time we stopped talking about the past.
“I don’t think there are many people who want to talk about it any more and the club has moved on.
“Let’s look forward – we’ve gained promotion this year and credit goes not only to the players, but the supporters, the directors, everybody involved with the club.
“Now we’re back to where we should be, playing Championship rugby.”
He added: “The second half tonight, we upped out tempo and we scored some very good tries.“The squad needed a pick-me-up from last week’s result and we had that.“I’m really pleased for all the boys.”
With promotion now sealed, Barrow have four matches left in which to try and win the league.
Victories over Oldham, Workington, Rochdale and South Wales will guarantee first place is theirs – with the match against West Cumbrians Town at Derwent Park a possible title-decider.
Raiders will celebrate their promotion now, but will be straight back on the horse as they strive to achieve their next goal.
A determined Harrison added: “If we win all these four games, then we win the league as well and that will put the cap on a very successful season.
“It’s something we, as a team, all want and we are all focused on getting.
“We’ve got a couple of weeks off now, so I’m sure we can have a half this weekend to celebrate.”
First published at 16:26, Friday, 20 July 2012
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
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Go the Raiders ginger Chesney et al, whoop whoop !
begin a Liam appreciation society now !
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