TWO tries from Shane Toal were not enough to prevent Barrow Raiders falling to a 48-22 defeat at home to high-flying Halifax in this afternoon’s Betfred Championship encounter at Craven Park.

After exchanging tries in the opening five minutes, Barrow found themselves trailing by 20 points at half time and down to 12 men temporarily following a yellow card for Dan Toal, only to mount something of a fightback when the visitors had Daniel Fleming sin-binned too.

But Halifax rallied to seal victory as the recent exertions of travelling to Featherstone Rovers and Toronto Wolfpack seemed to show for the hosts, who also had Thursday’s announcement about the club’s finances having dominated the build-up as well.

It was a breathless start to the contest despite the heat, with Halifax taking the lead in the third minute when a low kick from Johnston bounced kindly for Jacob Fairbank to collect and score behind the posts, with Steve Tyrer converting.

However, Barrow hit back straight from the restart as Fax full-back Kieran Moss left the ball to bounce from Jamie Dallimore’s kick down field and the superb chase from back row Toal led to him grabbing it and racing over a score which Dallimore converted.

The visitors started to dominate proceedings though and they got their reward in the 19th minute when lively scrum-half Johnston jinked his way through the Barrow defence to dot down, followed by Tyrer converting.

Four minutes later, Halifax were in again when the ball bounced kindly for Scott Murrell to pick up and dive over, followed on 26 minutes by Johnston providing the pass for Shane Grady to power through a gap in the line which had opened up for him. Both were again converted by Tyrer.

Barrow did respond on the half-hour mark when Jarrad Stack was stopped just short of the line and the ball was worked back out for Dallimore, who found Shane Toal in acres of space out on the wing for an unconverted try.

But their joy was short-lived and two minutes before the break, Chester Butler drove his way through for a converted try – which was awarded despite Barrow’s protestations the final pass was forward – and to make matter worse, the elder Toal brother was sin-binned just as the hooter sounded for speaking out of turn to referee Liam Staveley.

Four minutes into the second half though, Halifax had Daniel Fleming shown a yellow card as well for a late hit on stand-off Dallimore and the hosts set up an attack from the resulting penalty which ended with Ryan Johnston forcing his way over from close range and his half-back partner converting.

Then in the 57th minute, with both sides back to 13, a charge-down from a kick gave Barrow a repeat set and although Jono Smith was held up over the line, the ball was worked out for Jarrad Stack to send winger Toal diving over for his second try which Dallimore converted from the touchline.

The glimmer of hope Barrow were given of mounting a comeback was snuffed out by Moss in the 62nd minute though as the Halifax flier took the ball from an offload in midfield and stepped on the gas to race in to score out wide.

Tyrer was unable to convert, but the centre did kick a penalty four minutes later following a high tackle.

Then prop Adam Tangata added some gloss to the score for the visitors by breaking from deep inside his own half to go all the way for a converted try in front of the travelling Fax fans, and Johnston completed the win with his second two minutes from time.

Barrow Raiders: Ryan Burroughs: Shane Toal, Jarrad Stack, Tom Loxam, Jonny Pownall; Jamie Dallimore, Ryan Johnston; Joe Bullock, Nathan Mossop, Alec Susino, Jono Smith, Danny Morrow, Dan Toal. Interchange: Ryan Duffy, Dean Parata, Glenn Riley, Matty While.

Halifax: Kieran Moss; James Saltonsall, Steve Tyrer, James Woodburn Hall, Will Sharp; Scott Murrell, Ben Johnston; Adam Tangata, Ben Kaye, Jacob Fairbank, Chester Butler, Shane Grady, Simon Grix. Interchange: Will Maher, Brandon Moore, Daniel Fleming, Edward Barber.

Referee: Liam Staveley.