Raiders put up gutsy fight in Canada as Toronto Wolfpack seal title success
BARROW Raiders will have to go through the playoffs if they want to win promotion after a 26-2 loss to the Toronto Wolfpack on Saturday.
The match between the league’s top two sides was closer than the score-line indicated, as the visiting Raiders held the high-scoring Wolfpack to only eight points through the first 50 minutes.
Switching off for a nine minute stretch in the second half ultimately cost Barrow, however. Their loss handed the Wolfpack the Kingstone Press League One title.
Barrow started the match by defending well, forcing the Wolfpack to make several mistakes that prevented the hosts from finishing sets. One such error came on 11 minutes when the Wolfpack’s Craig Hall was deemed to have gone offside, gifting the ball to Barrow deep in the Toronto half. The Raiders failed to capitalize.
The Wolfpack only managed to foil the stingy Barrow defense once in the first half. A clever run from Toronto full-back Quentin Laulu-Tongaga’e found a gap in the Raiders’ line before going over in the corner. Hall converted, as he did with all four Toronto tries.
Barrow responded to Toronto’s opening score with their best offensive stretch of the match, pinning the Wolfpack back in their own end. They did everything but get over the try-line, being stopped close on multiple occasions. Tom Walker came the closest on 24 minutes, but was held up well by the Wolfpack defense.
Despite the Barrow pressure it was the Wolfpack who scored next. Dan Toal and James Duerden were harshly judged to have stripped the ball from a Toronto player. Hall kicked the resulting penalty to extend the Wolfpack lead to 8-0.
That remained the score at the half-time hooter, the least points the Wolfpack have managed in a half at Lamport Stadium all season.
Barrow started the second half by again putting Toronto under pressure. A successful 40/20 kick by Lewis Charnock gave the Raiders an early chance to cut into the Wolfpack lead. Again, however, the Raiders failed to finish their set before Laulu-Tongaga’e recovered the ball for Toronto.
The Raiders’ lone score of the match came on 49 minutes when they won a penalty. Charnock kicked it in from 40 yards to cut the Wolfpack lead to 8-2.
The visitors scoring seemed to wake up the Toronto attack. Five minutes later, substitute Gary Wheeler picked out Blake Wallace who charged over the line for the Wolfpack’s second try of the match.
On 57 minutes Toronto scored again. This time Wallace turned provider as he picked out a trailing Richard Whiting who easily drifted through a gap in the Barrow line and touched down under the posts.
The Wolfpack scored their third try in nine minutes as Wallace completed his brace on 62 minutes. The Toronto half-back’s outburst proved to be the big difference between the two sides.
The Wolfpack, who scored 12 tries the last time the two sides played in Toronto, were hungry for more. Barrow were not interested in repeating history, and allowed no further scores despite being pressed for most of the second half.
In the 69th minute, Hall came close to chasing down a grubber kick yards away from the Barrow try-line. Luke Cresswell, playing full-back, showed good hustle to get across the field and stop the attempt.
Moments later, prolific Toronto attacker Liam Kay looked sure to add to his try total, only to be tackled into touch by Tom Loxam.
Barrow have one game remaining in the Super8s prior to the playoffs when they play host to the Keighley Cougars on September 17.
1 Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e
2 Johnny Pownall
3 Greg Worthington
4 Craig Hall (C)
5 Liam Kay
6 Blake Wallace
7 Rhys Jacks
29 Jake Emmitt
9 Bob Beswick
8 Fuifui Moimoi
11 Andrew Dixon
17 Richard Whiting
13 Jack Bussey
Subs (All used)
21 Adam Sidlow
24 Sean Penkywicz
14 Gary Wheeler
10 Dan Fleming
24 Luke Cresswell – 8
45 Tom Loxam -7
4 Max Wiper - 6
12 Jarred Stack – 6
33 Eze Harper – 7
6 James Dallimore – 8
7 Lewis Charnock – 7
8 Joe Bullock – 7
15 Karl Ashall – 7
10 Oliver Wilkes – 7
18 Danny Morrow – 7
22 Brad Crellin – 6
13 Martin Aspinwall – 7
Subs (All Used)
9 Nathan Mossop – 7
11 Dan Toal – 6
21 James Duerden – 6
17 Tom Walker – 7
Playback: [5 – Kay try (0-4); 15- Pownall Try, Hall Conversion (10-0)] 15- Laulu-Tongaga’e try, Hall con (6-0), 31- Hall pen (8-0); 49- Charnock pen (8-2); 54- Wallace try, Hall con (14-2); 57- Whiting try, Hall con (20-2); 62- Wallace try, Hall con (26-2)
Attendance: 7,972Referee: John McMullen
Barrow Star Man: Luke Cresswell
Penalty Count: 8-10