Raiders defeat Haven and make Northern Rail last eight with pictures
Last updated at 14:57, Monday, 05 March 2012
NORTHERN RAIL CUP GROUP B RESULT
WHITEHAVEN RLFC 10 BARROW RAIDERS 18
WHETHER Darren Holt likes it or not, Barrow Raiders are through to the last-eight of the Northern Rail Cup after a gritty win over Whitehaven.
Having over-performed throughout the competition, they under-performed at the Recreation Ground and still came away with the win they needed to progress.
Sheffield’s 36-4 demolition of York on Friday night meant Barrow needed only to win against Haven and a run a 14 unanswered points in the first half ensured they did it despite a home comeback after the break.
Having only been threatened by referee Gareth Hewer – ridiculously appointed to referee his hometown club in a Cumbrian derby and showing all the signs of someone not on top of his game – Barrow set about their task with relish after the opening salvos.
They went ahead through that man Dan Toal – picking up in March where he left off in February – as he finished off the first flowing attacking move of the afternoon.
Liam Finch, making his 100th appearance for Barrow and starting at hooker in place of the injured James Dandy, was central to proceedings as he exchanged passes and spread play to the left.
Liam Campbell took the ball forward and did a neat one-two with Andy Ballard, who made ground before the ball came loose in a tackle.
Referee Hewer ruled it had been knocked out by a Haven man and gave Raiders another set of six. They needed only one of them as the ball came across to Toal, who found those holes he has proved expert at exploiting and ran in.
The try was a spark for Barrow and the lead was extended after some fast hands and faster feet left the home side stranded inside their own half.
Campbell, Ballard and Toal all had the ball at one point or another as the defence crumbled around them and Raiders drove to within 10 yards of the line.
The move was finished on the next play as skipper Liam Harrison went through a crowd of defenders who really ought to have stopped him and somehow grounded through the crowd on the left.
The lead became 14-0 thanks to more Keystone Cops defending from Whitehaven, but only after some luck went Barrow’s way.
After an unsuccessful set on the Haven line, the ball came wide to Mike Backhouse – on his first appearance of the competition – but he had nowhere to go. He passed back inside for Ballard, who knocked the ball backwards and, in desperation, hoofed the ball high towards the posts.
The home side stood transfixed as it hung spinning back towards earth and no-one moved to collect it. Instead Toal was first there again, hacking on and diving on the ball before it went over the dead-ball line.
Ballard proved key in defence when he chased a Carl Rudd charge down and prevented a certain try from the half-back, with Campbell then intercepting a Carl Sice pass wide on the right to stop them going in again.
Barrow were still resisting the best efforts of Mr Hewer as well, becoming more perplexing by the minute as he awarded a high tackle against Lee Dutton as the home side appealed for a ball strip as he robbed Sice one-on-one.
The second half started infinitely better for the home side as they camped in the Barrow half from early on and went in as Paul Cullnean sent Loz Hamzat in by the corner flag past Lee Haney.
With Barrow down to 12 men after Chris Larkin – a late replacement after Andy Litherland pulled up with a knee injury 10 minutes before kick-off – was sin-binned by Mr Hewer for a fight with Andreas Bauer which involved as much aggro from the unpunished other party, Haven had the chance to strike again.
They almost took it as Ballard had to concede a drop-out as Craig Calvert chased a Rudd kick to the corner and handling errors now started to creep into the Barrow game.
Haven did strike as Harrison took a pass from Brad Marwood and allowed Sam Gee to steal it with ease and run in between the sticks from 20 yards out, making it 14-10.
Larkin came back and Lee Haney stopped Barrow boy Max Wiper scoring against his hometown club with a crunching tackle and it was sterling defence that was needed.
Toal thought he had a hat-tick as he dived for the line by the posts on the last tackle but Mr Hewer said he was short, but another chance came on the back of a great 40/20 from Scott Kaighan with eight minutes to go, but Harrison knocked on trying to go for the line when he should have taken the tackle.
It turned out it didn’t matter.
Liam Campbell created a gap and sent Toal through, but he was denied a hat-trick again, this time by a blatant high tackle from Shane Ackersley.
Mr Hewer inexplicably did not give it – there being no advantage as the tackle was completed – but Barrow spread play through Ballard and Larkin to Haney, who scored in the corner and sealed a last-eight spot.
First published at 14:21, Sunday, 04 March 2012
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Have your say
Born and raised in Barrow; why the hell was a Whitehaven ref put in charge? Surely Barrow could have forced a change on that? Well done though Barrow! I get updates sent to my email on how you are doing!