PERHAPS the one positive to come out of yesterday's defeat for Barrow Raiders is the fact they can now look forward to a weekend free of rugby league following an arduous end to the Betfred Championship regular season.

Even the fact the game marked a special milestone for vice-captain Nathan Mossop, who clocked up his 200th appearance in a Raiders shirt, was not enough to raise much of a smile at full-time due to London Broncos having inflicted a 72-6 defeat on the hosts.

It was the second game at Craven Park in a row where the Raiders had been beaten by that scoreline, and there were only two moments where the home fans could really cheer; one being Jamie Dallimore's consolation try, and the other being new loan signing Mendy Saidty going on the rampage with his first carry.

Indeed, it was the travelling Broncos fans who were doing pretty much all of the celebration – not just for each of their side's 13 tries, but also because the result was enough to confirm their place in the Qualifiers and a second-placed finish ahead of the split.

For Barrow though, this game was a sign of how much the squad need that upcoming break to rest and recuperate ahead of the second phase. Not only were the likes of Glenn Riley and Alec Susino playing with various casts and strapping covering up injuries, but others were playing in unfamiliar positions.

Ryan Johnston had to fill in at full-back due to Brett Carter and Ryan Fieldhouse being injured, along with on-loan Toronto Wolfpack back Jonny Pownall having left to join League One title hopefuls Bradford Bulls for the rest of the season.

Elsewhere, Bradd Crellin had to slot in at centre and Joe Bullock played in the second row, with head coach Paul Crarey no doubt casting glances at Jono Smith and Declan Hulme – both of whom were watching from the stands – hoping they will be fit for the first game of the next phase.

Consequently, it is no surprise the team seemed a bit disjointed at times against the Broncos, and their afternoon was perhaps encapsulated by the moment Matty While – still playing with the arm injury sustained away to Dewsbury Rams – was sin-binned for using his knees in the tackle just moments after coming off the interchange bench.

There was, at least, some comfort to be taken from the return of skipper Martin Aspinwall after a long spell out following a head injury he sustained at the Summer Bash, and his leadership will prove invaluable in the remainder of the campaign.

As for the game itself, Barrow and the Broncos proved to be evenly matched for much of the opening 10 minutes, with the home side only denied the opening score by Susino being held up under the the posts following two knock-ons by Keiran Dixon – the first being forced by Matty Holmes.

However, Broncos broke the deadlock two minutes later when Api Pewhairanfi kicked a 40/20 and then caught the defence napping with a quick tap restart to race over for a try converted by Dixon.

Again, the game remained close-fought after this, but it was after Alex Walker jinked his way through the defence for a second converted try on 19 minutes that Raiders started to lose their way.

Four minutes later, Broncos seized on a loose ball in broken play and Rhys Williams used his pace and power to burst from just inside his own half to score, followed by London's fast offloading game undoing Barrow's defence in the 27th minute when Eddie Battye set up James Cunningham.

A simple move from a scrum 10 metres out led to Dixon going over out wide for an unconverted try and when While was shown the yellow card, London made the most of their temporary advantage as interchange men Dan Harrison and Jarrod Sammut pushed them to 38 points clear at half time.

The first 17 minutes of the second half saw Barrow match London without finding a way over, but when Elliott Kear sent Williams over in acres of space on 57 minutes it signalled a resumption of where they had left off.

Cunningham's second was followed by Walker grabbing two more in quick succession to complete his score, along with Sammut benefiting from a charge-downed kick from Dean Parata to get his second.

Dallimore did at least ensure some consolation for Barrow as he finally cracked the Broncos' tight defence in the 74th minute by weaving his way through a gap, but Williams had the final say two minutes from time as he finished a length-of-the-field counter-attack.


Barrow Raiders: Ryan Johnston 6; Georgy Gambaro 6, Bradd Crellin 6, Tom Loxam 6, Ryan Burroughs 6; Jamie Dallimore 7, Dean Parata 6; Ryan Duffy 6, Nathan Mossop 7, Arnaud Bartes 7, Joe Bullock 6, Matty Holmes 7, Alec Susino 6.

Interchange: Matty While 5, Martin Aspinwall 6, Glenn Riley 6, Mendy Saidty 7.

London Broncos: Alex Walker; Keiran Dixon, Ben Hellewell, Elliott Kear, Rhys Williams; Apirana Pewhairanfi, James Cunningham; Edward Battye, Eloi Pelissier, Ben Evans, Jay Pitts, Daniel Hindmarsh, Tom Spencer.

Interchange: Rob Butler, Mark Ioane, Jarrod Sammut, Daniel Harrison.

Referee: Ben Thaler.

Sin-bin: Matty While (foul play, 36).

Attendance: 1,044.


11 MINUTES: Pewhairanfi try, Dixon conversion, 0-6.

19 MINUTES: Walker try, Dixon conversion, 0-12.

23 MINUTES: Williams try, Dixon conversion, 0-18.

27 MINUTES: Cunningham try, Dixon conversion, 0-24.

33 MINUTES: Dixon try, 0-28.

37 MINUTES: Harrison try, 0-32.

40 MINUTES: Sammut try and conversion, 0-38.

57 MINUTES: Williams try, 0-42.

60 MINUTES: Cunningham try, Sammut conversion, 0-48.

63 MINUTES: Walker try, Sammut conversion, 0-54.

68 MINUTES: Walker try, Sammut conversion, 0-60.

71 MINUTES: Sammut try and conversion, 0-66.

74 MINUTES: Dallimore try and conversion, 6-66.

78 MINUTES: Williams try, Sammut conversion, 6-72.


Arnaud Bartes: Ran hard every time he had the ball in hand and always looked to make something happen.