IF you are reading this then you are likely to be one of the people who remembered there was some rugby league being played yesterday as well.

The all-pervading nature of the round-ball game these days meant Sunday’s fixtures had to vie for attention with the World Cup final, even without England being in the final following last Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat to Croatia in the semis.

At least followers of both were given the opportunity to watch both thanks to the kick-off times for yesterday’s rugby fixtures being brought forward, which also meant Barrow Raiders’ opponents, Toulouse Olympique, got to see their footballing compatriots in action.

England’s last-four exit did mean the only place to watch an Anglo-French clash was in person at Craven Park rather than live on television from Moscow though – although perhaps, in the grand scheme of things, no more than a mere footnote in the cross-Channel sporting rivalry.

And, in the end, it was pretty one-sided as well, as a patched-up Barrow side still decimated by injury – and even with a number of those in the 17-man carrying a variety of knocks and bruises – suffered their biggest home defeat for 13 years.

The 72-6 loss to the promotion-chasing Frenchmen was the biggest suffered by the Raiders at Craven Park since Halifax ran up a 72-12 scoreline back in 2005, but it was not for a lack of effort or a case of throwing the towel in on Barrow’s part.

The home supporters were at least given something to cheer on 48 minutes when Liam Harrison went over for a try on his return to the club a year and a half after hanging his boots up – something that was deserved reward for a typically all-action display that made him a crowd favourite here during his 11-year, 300-plus-appearance career with his home-town club.

It was a return to his original position of centre too for Harrison, having finished as a second row, although that in itself sums up how badly the Raiders squad is struggling for bodies in certain areas at the moment.

Ryan Johnston’s absence meant Ryan Fieldhouse had to move to stand-off – not for the first time this season – and Jamie Dallimore shifted across to scrum-half. Meanwhile, Brett Carter slotted in at full-back on his return from injury.

As well as this, Jono Smith and Matty While were on the interchange bench despite still nursing arm and ankle injuries respectively from the previous week’s defeat at Dewsbury Rams, and were still pressed into action in the closing stages as Jarrad Stack and Dan Toal were forced off.

In truth, few would have expected a full-strength Barrow side to have beaten Toulouse and the full-time outfit showed exactly why they are riding high in the Championship with a devastating, ruthless display – particularly on the counter-attack.

The writing looked on the wall as early as the second minute when Anthony Marion stretched to get the ball down, finishing a move from a scrum after Fieldhouse had dropped the ball from the kick-off, followed by Mark Kheirallah kicking the first of 10 conversions.

Bastian Ader then evaded a tackle to dance through for a try on 11 minutes after Toulouse had forced a drop-out and the centre added an unconverted score in the corner six minutes later when a hopeful pass out wide evaded Ryan Burroughs’ interception attempt.

Two tries in as many minutes for Chris Centrone put Toulouse firmly in control, followed by Paul Seguier brushing past a tackler to score and full-back Kheirallah getting in on the act with a try on the stroke of full-time – the conversion for which saw the visitors lead 38-0 at the break.

It was seeming more and more like a case of not if, but how many Toulouse would win by when Seguier went over for his second two minutes into the second half.

But Harrison produced a moment of magic when he drew a penalty in the opposition 20, then powered through a gap in the defence for a try converted by Jamie Dallimore after being set up by Dean Parata.

But Dallimore’s yellow card for a swinging arm left Barrow temporarily short-handed, which Toulouse punished when Rhys Curran rampaged through the defence to score.

Paul Marcon’s 56th-minute try was followed by Ader completing his hat-trick, while further scores from Justin Sangare and William Barthau sealed the win.

The Raiders must now pick themselves up ahead of this Sunday’s penultimate regular-season game away to another side aiming to steer clear of the bottom two in Sheffield Eagles.

Barrow Raiders: Brett Carter 7; Ryan Burroughs 6, Liam Harrison 8, Tom Loxam 6, Jonny Pownall 6; Ryan Fieldhouse 5, Jamie Dallimore 5; Ryan Duffy 6, Nathan Mossop 7, Alec Susino 6, Bradd Crellin 7, Jarrad Stack 6, Dan Toal 6. Interchange: Matty While, Dean Parata 7, Glenn Riley 6, Jono Smith.

Toulouse Olympique: Mark Kheirallah; Paul Marcon, Gavin Marguerite, Christopher Centrone; Jonathon Ford, William Barthau; Joe Bretherton, Anthony Marion, Maxine Puech, Sebastian Planas, Rhys Curran, Clement Boyer. Interchange: Charles Bouzinac, Paul Seguier, Tyla Hepi, Justin Sangare.

Referee: Scott Mikalauskas.

Sin-bin: Barrow Raiders: Jamie Dallimore (swinging arm, 53).

Attendance: 981.

Playback: 2 – Marion try, Kheirallah conv (0-6); 11 – Ader try, Kheirallah conv (0-12); 17 – Ader try (0-16); 26 – Centrone try (0-20); 28 – Centrone try, Kheirallah conv (0-26); 35 – Seguier try, Kheirallah conv (0-32); 40 – Kheirallah try and conv (0-38); 42 – Seguier try, Kheirallah conv (0-44); 48 – Harrison try, Dallimore conv (6-44); 51 – Curran try, Kheirallah conv (6-50); 56 – Marcon try, Kheirallah conv (6-56); 64 – Ader try, Kheirallah conv (6-62); 69 – Sangare try, Kheirallah conv (6-68); 74 – Barthau try (6-72).

Raiders star man: Liam Harrison: Capped his return to action after 18 months away from the professional game, and gave his all in a losing cause in both attack and defence.