A TRY for Jono Smith on his return to action for Barrow Raiders helped the hosts get the Betfred Championship Shield Super Eights off to the ideal start with a 17-10 win over relegation-threatened Rochdale Hornets.

The visitors were 4-0 up at half time through two penalties from Morgan Smith, but Raiders second row Smith powered through the defence to mark his comeback from injury with a score on the hour, followed by Alec Susino also getting a try and Jamie Dallimore kicking eight points

There were precious few genuine try-scoring opportunities for either side in the first 40 minutes, which was punctuated by referee Marcus Griffiths giving 18 penalties in a scrappy affair.

Both sides were desperate to avoid defeat in the battle for survival at the bottom of the Championship table and that was indicated by a fiesty opening to the contest which saw two flare-ups and both sets of players squaring off.

However, the deadlock was broken in the 11th minute when Barrow gave away a penalty for a high tackle and Hornets stand-off Smith kicked it over from 10 metres out.

Rochdale did lose centre Setareki Talatoka to the sin-bin on 25 minutes for a high tackle on Brett Carter, although the Raiders were unable to make the most of their numerical advantage.

Indeed, it was during this period that Smith added his second penalty after the home side had been deemed to be guilty of interfering at the play-the-ball a similar distance out to the first one.

The closest the Raiders came to scoring in the first half was when second row Smith was held up over the line, with their lack of composure in the Hornets’ red zone proving costly.

It was a similar story after the break, but Barrow took a route-approach and it eventually paid off when Smith forced his way over for a converted try after a kick from Dallimore had seen Rochdale concede a goal-line drop-out.

Dallimore then slotted over two penalties – the first on 64 minutes from around 30 metres out and the second from over 40 metres out two minutes later – to put the Raiders an converted try ahead.

Half-back partner Ryan Johnston got in on the act with a drop-goal in the 71st minute and prop Susino put the seal on the win by powering over for another converted score three minutes from time.

There was still time for Rochdale to get a consolation try back after Miles Greenwood picked up a loose ball and set up Deon Cross to score, with Smith converting, but Barrow had already sealed the win.

Barrow Raiders: Ryan Fieldhouse; Brett Carter, Jarrad Stack, Ryan Burroughs, Tom Loxam; Jamie Dallimore, Ryan Johnston; Joe Bullock, Dean Parata, Alec Susino, Jono Smith, Dan Toal, Arnaud Bartes. Interchange: Ryan Duffy, Martin Aspinwall, Glenn Riley, Nathan Mossop.

Rochdale Hornets: Declan Kay; Richard Lepori, Deon Cross, Setareki Talatoka, Rob Massam; Morgan Smith, Daniel Yates; Ryan Millington, William Brickhill, Patrick Moran, Luke Adamson, Lee Mitchell, Lewis Hatton. Interchange: Miles Greenwood, Tyler Whittaker, Joe Ryan, Joe Taira.

Referee: Marcus Griffiths.