Barrow Ladies face Bradford after battling effort at Leigh
BARROW Ladies welcome Bradford Bulls to Rating Lane tomorrow for their first open match of the season.
After a battling display in their opening match at Leigh Miners Rangers, Barrow will be seeking a first win, albeit against a well-established club with top players (2pm kick-off).
Barrow went down 36-16 at Leigh, with a display that showed many signs of promise, following on from a heavy cup defeat against the same opponents.
Miners took early control to race into a 12-0 lead with three unconverted tries, as a mixture of nerves and a lack of confidence proved the visitors' downfall.
The South Cumbrian side found their feet with some great running and line breaking from Fern Henderson, who spurred them on.
Beth Lindsay and Emily Stirzaker brought the forwards into the game, with Julie Garnett and Amelia Haigh showing what they can do with some great driving runs.
Leigh, though, continued to show their prowess and three more unconverted tries put them 24-0 ahead.
The final 10 minutes of the half showed how much Barrow have improved, with a fine organised defensive display keeping Miners at bay.
Great tackling from debutant Sarah Barker, mixed with outstanding running from Fern Henderson started to give them confidence.
However, as half-time approached, another lapse of concentration and some fine rugby from Leigh led to another unconverted try and a 28-0 lead.
It was a different story after the break – though there were a pair of tries for the hosts in the opening five minutes.
Barrow started playing as a team and dominated the final 35 minutes.
Stirzaker and young prospect Lindsay, who at 16 shows great maturity in her play and kicking, spurred them on, and the former drifted across the line to feed full-back Michelle Larkin through the gap, racing in from 70 yards, with the home defence in her wake.
Amy Beard and replacement Becca Thompson started to produce some fantastic running and power play, and Jesse Cape and Kayleigh Stockdale put them in another promising position.
On the fifth tackle, Stirzaker decided to run with the ball, drawing in the defence and passing for Kelly Friend to dance her way over for 36-8.
From the kick-off Katie Gower made a break and fed Henderson, who again had four defenders for company as she made impressive yardage.
Barrow soon found themselves on the Leigh try line thanks to Samantha Norman and Amelia Haigh, and Beard showed great composure as she dived across to score. The conversion attempts were getting closer as Lindsay hit the post.
Barrow's tackling and defence was causing Miners all kinds of trouble, and again the visitors found themselves pressuring the Leigh line.
After another well-worked scrum, they scored the try of the match as fine passing play led to Samantha Norman showing her speed to score in the corner.
The game finished 36-16, and Barrow coach John Johnson said: “Scoring four tries away from home is no mean feat.
“With some practice and guidance from missing goal-kicker Sharon Tucker, I'm sure Beth Lindsay and several other players can master kicking and provide an extra dimension.”
Henderson was voted as player-of-the-match, ahead of Lindsey and Stirzaker.