RAIDERS REVIEW: Silence Newcastle Thunder and we'll be on course for second spot
WE expected a competitive affair against Doncaster and that’s exactly what we got.
Barrow thoroughly deserved their victory 14-10 but the game was in the balance all way through the 80 minutes and I was called into one man commentary duty with 15 minutes to go as the feature game of Workington versus Toronto was standing at 68-0 to the Canadians.
It was a bit nerve-wracking in those last 15 minutes as Barrow who had gained control 14-6 made a right hash of a Dons kick into the red zone which resulted in them scoring wide out left to make it 14-10.
The try wasn’t converted so it remained a four point advantage until the final hooter.
Barrow played well, and I thought the discipline and tackling was first class – much like the early stages of the campaign which certainly bodes well for the remaining five games of the Super Eights.
We just need to be a bit more clinical in attack and to try to stop the ball handling errors particularly at the play the ball. I lost count the number of times we gave up possession just as we were attempting to force a quick play.
With more possession I’m sure we would have won convincingly, because although Doncaster looked dangerous in attack on the occasions they were given possession, they spent most of the game in their own half defending.
New coach Richard Horne is obviously coming to terms with his first coaching appointment and let’s hope this week they can defeat Whitehaven at home which they are definitely capable of.
Tonight we play Newcastle Thunder at Kingston Park; the home of Premiership Newcastle Falcons RU team on their 4G artificial pitch.
On Good Friday we had a fantastic victory 50 -6 over Newcastle on that pitch and a repeat performance tonight will do nicely.
By tea-time tomorrow we could be two points clear of Whitehaven in second spot and with three of the last four games at home (only the visit to Toronto away), that will give us a great chance of finishing in that all-important second spot to keep the home advantage going forward.
But it’s one game at a time and Newcastle, who picked up considerably after appointing Jason Payne as player-coach a couple of months ago, have lost their last three games.
Workington won at their ground a couple of weeks ago 30 -14 and last week, Haven won convincingly at the Recreation Ground, 27-6.
I don’t think Payne will be playing tonight as he was guilty for foul and abusive language towards a match official, so will be serving a suspension. Welcome to the world of coaching, Jason.
Elsewhere, York City Knights, who the previous week beat the Toronto superstars, were themselves beaten at Cougar Park by the inconsistent Keighley 22-20.
This week Keighley host Toronto, but I think Toronto’s defeat by York was a bit of wake-up call and I can’t see them stumbling again, although it would make Barrow’s trip to Canada a lot more interesting with automatic promotion at stake.
This will be Toronto’s last away game before they fly over to Canada to play four home games on the trot against Doncaster, Whitehaven, Barrow and Newcastle. The experiment seems to be going well, with the Wolfpack averaging 7500 in a 10,000 capacity stadium.
We couldn’t even muster 1,000 against Doncaster, which was very disappointing. I know there are a lot of Barrovians on holiday and I know the weather wasn’t great, but it is becoming a bit of a worry on the financial front and that’s after only two league defeats.
Let’s hope the fans turn out next week with the visit of York, which should be a close, competitive encounter.