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Thursday, 02 July 2015

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Raiders boss wants BARLA clash to be an annual affair

DARREN Holt hopes the pre-season friendly against a BARLA amateur side will become an annual fixture after a third January match was announced.

HARD WORK STARTS HERE: Aaron Low leads the way during a Raiders training session as they prepare for a busy pre-season period LINDSEY DICKINGS REF: 50041795B007

Raiders have announced Keighley Cougars will be travelling to Craven Park on Sunday, January 6, a week before Barrow meet Paul Crarey’s amateur team, also on home turf.

Last season, Holt’s first match in charge was against a BARLA Cumbria team and the Barrow coach hopes it can be the start of a yearly tradition, providing benefits for both his side and the amateurs.

“We played a similar game last year and I think it was very successful,” he said. “I enjoyed it and I think it is a no-brainer for both set-ups to have this game and hopefully try and make it an annual fixture.”

The Cougars – one of Barrow’s rivals in the Championship this season – announced their journey to Furness yesterday.

A Barrow club statement said: “These three fixtures will give supporters the ideal opportunity to see the new squad in action against tough opposition ahead of the first competitive match of the campaign at Hunslet. It will also give head coach Darren Holt and his coaching team of Phil Atkinson and Dean Marwood the chance to see how the new-look squad are gelling together following the introduction of several new faces during the off-season.”

Raiders have just one other pre-season match – against Cumbrian rivals Whitehaven on Sunday, January 20 – in their current schedule. They had hoped to arrange a game this month, although that has not come to fruition.

A game in December would have fit in well with pre-season starting last week and the Championship campaign proper being brought forward to February – with Barrow opening their season at Hunslet Hawks on Sunday, February 3.

l Cumbria’s Tri-Series County Championship matches against Lancashire, due to be played at Wath Brow on Sunday, have been postponed once more.

Weather put paid to the first attempt to host the games, but now Lancashire are unable to travel for the open-age and under-19s title deciders. The match will be rearranged for the new year, with a provisional date of Sunday, January 13 being set.

l A trio of Barrow Island veterans have returned from Dubai, where they represented BARLA in the Invitational Sevens competition. Craig McKinnon, Dave Wynne and Paul Dean all helped the team reach the quarter-finals, where they were beaten by a team of former league international stars such as Kris Radlinski, Martin Offiah and Jason Robinson.

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