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Raiders triumph over Workington: with video and pictures


Barrow Raiders 20 Workington Town 12

FEW Cumbrian derby victories can have tasted so sweet for Barrow Raiders.

Their backs to the wall, their every sinew strained, Barrow crowned themselves the best in the county – for the moment at least – with a wholehearted victory over Workington.

Battered, bruised and battle-weary, reduced to one fit substitute by the hour after injuries to Jack Pedley. Martin Ostler and Barry Pugh and staring down the barrel of a Town attack relentless in their forward drives, Raiders still emerged with all three points.

In the second half, it seemed they had the ball for barely five minutes in total, as their West Cumbrian rivals dominated possession and territory, yet still could not find the way to victory.

In their way stood a Barrow defence which was broken early on, but stood up to the task when it mattered.

They showed the league’s meanest team they can protect their line when it counts, while a brace of tries from Dan Toal and one from Chris Larkin all came at key points to rock the visitors.

Even if their performance was not vintage, this victory will mean a great deal to a Raiders side who have now welcomed three of the league’s best teams to Craven Park and sent each of them packing with nothing to show for their efforts.

It lifts Barrow to second in the table all by themselves and with a game in hand on leaders Doncaster, one of those vanquished opponents on Furness turf.

It also erased any doubts over whether they can take the points without playing at their best when they come up against a top side.

They were far from 100 per cent here, but their sheer bloody-mindedness and determination saw them through against a Town team among the favourites to go up.

Workington led early on as a knock-on from Andy Ballard gifted them one set of six and a high tackle by Chris Larkin another, allowing Graeme Mattinson to exploit slack defence and go in from dummy half on the last tackle of a third successive set.

Barrow knocked-on, they tried stupid offloads and did all they could to ensure Town kept that lead for 20 minutes, the hosts lucky not to be punished when one pass from Chris Larkin was plucked from the air by Dave Peterson, who made 60 yards before he was tackled by James Nixon.

Eventually things did come together for Raiders, with Andy Bracek feeding Campbell near the sticks and the Barrow half-back flicking a pass for the run of Toal, who sidestepped his marker and went in between the posts.

Barrow now led 6-4 and they extended the advantage just after the half-hour, as a clever Darren Holt kick through on the last tackle was missed by Town full-back Brett Carter.

He was slowed off the mark as the ball came through and watched in horror as it bounced away from him and into the path of poacher Toal, the Ulverston man needing no second invitation to pounce and double his tally for the afternoon.

These two tries were both against the general run of play and Workington were soon back on the offensive, probing every gap and determined to close the advantage before the break with the wind at their backs. Barrow were taking a battering, Pedley going off which an injured sternum – even under the best prognosis of only bruising he faces a long lay-off – and Ostler hobbling away under the guidance of physio Mark Coulson as he twisted his right leg in a tackle.

Yet Raiders were resolute and they stood firm into half-time and for nine minutes after it, before they allowed Jarrad Stack to offload despite having three men around him, with Dan Rooney putting Millomite Elliott Miller in at the corner.

Things were getting a little nervy, yet an immediate response came via Larkin, as he finished off a move from one side of the field to the other and put Raiders 18-8 up, the kicking of player/coach Darren Holt proving crucial, with more still to come.

Again Town responded, with fast hands and even faster feet down the left wing ended with Stephen Dawes diving over.

Debutant Ryan Shaw came close to another tit-for-tat response for Barrow as he was held short, but this was still Workington’s game, Shaw more noted for his strong tackling throughout the 80 minutes than for his attacking runs.

Skipper Liam Harrison was just the same, though his power gained Raiders vital yards at crucial times, with the Town defence struggling to hold this raging bull back.

A penalty for a high tackle on Ruairi McGoff was booted over by Holt to make the gap eight points as the final quarter-hour started and now the real hard work began for Barrow.

Mattinson was barely stopped from adding a second from acting half-back, James Nixon wisely conceded a drop-out and Peter Lupton had Rooney away, only for Bracek and Ballard to combine to push him into touch as he neared the corner.

Another Lupton breakaway was halted by a superb tackle round the legs from Ballard and Mattinson wasted a chance to score as he kicked into the hands of Campbell when a sidestep would have had him over the line.

The home support were growing more and more nervous, but the hooter came and was greeted with joy for them and pride too from the Town contingent, who knew their side had given their all.

On this occasion, that was not enough as Workington discovered just why Barrow have turned Craven Park into a fortress this season, one from which they will fly the promotion flag on the back of sheer guts with more displays like this.

Have your say

I work in the brown cow, and listened via the radio and thought it was a really entertaining game! Especially thought Ry Shaw went well ... UP THE RAIDERS, lots of love to holty and the boys!! Hope to be with yous one day!

Posted by Lloyd Williams on 17 May 2012 at 17:38

Tremendous result. Barrow were often second best but time after time they repelled the big rampaging Townites. Holty has instilled some "dog" and self belief in the Raiders. Surely both teams will finish in the top four?
Just a question to the lads why do we always have to let the opposition score first?
Now that probably the hardest home game all season is out of the way, please don't underestimate the Skolars next week. They are much improved and we can't afford any banana skins!

Posted by Ron Banks on 13 May 2012 at 23:08

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