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Saturday, 22 November 2014

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Raiders slump to defeat at Oldham: full report with pictures

CO-OPERATIVE CHAMPIONSHIP ONE RESULT

OLDHAM RLFC 32 BARROW RAIDERS 26

BARROW Raiders ended their winning run at a super six, rather than reaching a magnificent seven, though neither of those superlatives could be applied to a lacklustre display.

It was Oldham who ended the afternoon standing proud at the top of the Championship One standings – the only unbeaten team left in the competition – after they clinically disposed of a visiting side lucky to end up with a bonus point.

From the 100 per cent completion rate of the second half against Lezignan, Barrow went to the polar opposite, producing an error-strewn effort, only occasionally interspersed with moments of attacking brilliance.

Only one of these sides looked like a team with two wins from two in the league – and it certainly wasn’t Raiders.

Despite this, all of the early running was being made by Barrow, but they found themselves consistently denied at the last.

Two drop-outs straight from the kick-off, one as Andy Ballard’s start was knocked-on, the second as Miles Greenwood was tackled behind his line, could not produce a score, and nor could Lee Haney as he took a Ballard pass and cut inside before being stopped just short.

Lee Dutton was held up over the line after a bullocking run and Andy Bracek threw the ball away as he looked to go over before the deadlock was finally broken by Barry Pugh.

The hard-running second row forward came into the line at pace and at an angle, blasting through the Oldham defence to make it 6-0.

Oldham had failed to produce a chance, but now they were handed one on a plate as Ballard put a telegraphed pass into the hands of Lucas Onyango, who streaked away from 35 metres out.

The home side were quickly into their stride now and went in front as the Barrow defence failed to properly stop Oldham’s runners near the line and allowed David Ellison to cross.

It looked likely to swing more in the favour of the Greater Manchester side, but instead Raiders landed a double blow, firstly with Jack Pedley going in as Liam Harrison carved a hole on the back of a fine Chris Larkin offload. The lead was Barrow’s soon after as Martin Ostler collected a Campbell pass and pushed over two Oldham tacklers before diving over the line.

Once again, however, the visitors’ advantage was not to last, with more poor defending on their own line allowing Danny Whitmore to exchange passes with Paul Smith and jink in between the sticks for 18-18 at half-time.

They carried on their scoring in the second half as Jamie Dallimore dropped a shoulder and caught the Barrow line out to cross between the posts.

There was a chance of an immediate riposte as Campbell broke with support, but his pass to Scott Kaighan went to ground and instead Oldham went in again.

Miles Greenwood took the ball wide right and looked to be pushed into touch by three Barrow men.

But they allowed Greenwood to offload and had left David Cookson all alone and able to take the ball from the air and score with ease, the 28-18 lead looking formidable.

Raiders were doing nothing to help their own cause, barely finishing a set as they knocked-on, put in forward passes and looked entirely clueless as to how to get into the home side’s half.

What Barrow needed was a flash of inspiration, a moment of brilliance, but even as they finally found themselves in the Oldham half they showed little sign of scoring.

They finally did cross as James Nixon opened up for the first time on the left wing and accelerated away from the cover to score in the corner.

With only six points in it and 10 minutes to go, it should have been anyone’s game, especially as Kaighan forced a drop-out with a neat grubber.

But Barrow let the ball go all the way down the slope to their own line and then coughed it up on the first tackle, creating the chance that allowed Greenwood to collect the ricocheting grubber from Dallimore and score.

That made it 32-22 with seven minutes to go and it should have been all over, with by far the better side taking the points.

But somehow Raiders found an opening to put the match in the balance as they drove down the right and Ballard sent James Finch in to score.

There were some nervous final moments for Oldham as they saw Barrow mount a wave of attacks, but the final high kick from Kaighan was eventually knocked into touch after the hooter and they took the three points, to stand as the only unbeaten side in the division and deservedly so.

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