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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Dave Sear notes a refreshing change

WELL that’s a change, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, when in a lot of games recently we have conspired to do the exact opposite.

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REMEMBERING: The Barrow players observe a minute’s silence for former coach Cec Thompson ahead of the clash with Hunslet Hawks – Cec’s first club – at Craven Park last week JON GRANGER REF: 50022545B000

Once again there was no lack of effort from the Raiders team, but there is something missing, which means, with all due respect to them, we are not putting 50 points into the likes of Hunslet Hawks.

In search of some answers, I went to the man who is charged with finding a solution to the problems the team faces, coach Dave Clark.

It is not my place to look at strategies or the performance/fitness of some of the players, but he was willing to reveal some match statistics to me which I will share with you.

Just to refresh your memory, a completed set is when the team goes through its quota of tackles and then scores, kicks or otherwise gets rid of the ball under its own terms.

Our defensive sets when we were running the ball out from our own half showed a completion rate of just over 80 per cent, which is pretty good.

In comparison, we had a total of 15 attacking sets in the opposition’s part of the field and only managed to complete on six occasions, a 40 per cent success rate which is far from being an acceptable figure, indicating too many knock-ons, forward passes and other infringements.

Looking at individual performance reinforces the point that there was no shortage of endeavour.

Top tackler, on his debut, was Jonny Walker.

He came from Wigan with a reputation as a guy who enjoyed tackling and that proved that to be the case as he put in 39 of them. Next in line was Anthony Blackwood with 29.

Liam Harrison carried the ball 18 times, with Matt James getting his hands on it on 16 occasions.

But the top ball carrier, and joint-third tackler, was Jamie Thackray, who took the ball forward in his usual determined fashion 20 times, while still finding the energy to put in 22 tackles.

The coach will use that data and study the match DVD for hours to find ways to try and improve both individual and team performance.

We travel to Dewsbury tomorrow. They are a team we struggled to beat at Craven Park and also one who put an end to our Northern Rail Cup ambitions when they defeated Barrow over in Yorkshire.

Although they sit at the bottom of the Co-operative Championship table, the Raiders team will still have to offer more than it did last week to come away with the points.

Winning is the only option open to the Raiders.

Even now we are being docked points for a breach of the salary cap regulations, we still have an extremely good chance of qualifying for the play-offs if we win our remaining games, with the fixture list pitting some of the teams above us against one another, so some of them must lose points.

In fact, I’ve just had to go through the pain of willing on Featherstone Rovers as they defeated Sheffield in the Thursday night game, with the lack of even a bonus point for the Eagles being good news for Barrow.

“When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea,” as Eric Cantona so wisely observed.

At Craven Park the seagulls descend on the ground on match days because they think food will be thrown on the ground.

I mentioned the gulls a couple of years ago and how they came to the terraces once the people had started to leave the stadium.

Nowadays there are more of them than ever and they start assembling once the spectators begin coming into the ground.

Apparently some people are encouraging the flying pests by throwing chips and other food on to the floor and then taking some weird enjoyment from watching the gulls fight over the offerings.

If you see anyone carrying on in that fashion, please discourage them.

We do not want Craven Park to end up like so many other places nowadays, where the seagulls snatch the food out of the hands of people.

They can be intimidating and are a health risk, so please do not encourage them.

Thursday saw me on the road with Dave Clark for a meeting about junior development and links with the amateur game.

Nothing can be reported at present, but I think you should know we are not just sitting back and doing nothing as regards an area which is so vital for the future of the club and the game.

I am confident that we are now moving in the right direction.

And finally a piece of advice, it may be the early bird that catches the worm, but it is the second mouse that gets the cheese!

DAVE SEAR

Supporting the Mayor’s Defibrillator Appeal

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