TWO second-half tries from Joe Bullock helped Barrow Raiders get back to winning ways and triumph 20-6 in their crucial Betfred Championship clash at home to Rochdale Hornets.

A low-scoring first half saw the Raiders leading 4-0 at the interval thanks to two penalties from Jamie Dallimore, with Bullock’s double, plus single tries from Declan Hulme and Ryan Fieldhouse making certain of the win.

It did come at a cost though; Bradd Crellin was stretchered off close to the end of the first half after sustaining an injury while making a tackle and needing lengthy treatment, while try-scorer Hulme limped off with a suspected ankle injury in the second half.

Both teams proved as evenly matched as the scoreless nature of the contest for most of the first 40 minutes would suggest, with Rochdale having a possible try from Deon Cross in the seventh minutes for a double movement after he had been tackled close the line by Dan Toal.

At the other end, the Raiders had several chance to break the deadlock only for them to be unable to execute – the first of which came on 18 minutes when Hulme was unable to hold onto a pass from Karl Ashall.

Two minutes later, Shane Toal fumbled a cut-out pass to the right wing from Ryan Fieldhouse while over the line. Then from a quick 20-metre tap restart, Declan Kay burst away, only to be hauled down on halfway by Ryan Johnston and to knock on in the process.

The Hornets then compounded the error by conceding a penalty at the resulting scrum, allowing Barrow to launch another attack from deep inside the visitors’ territory and force a drop-out after a surprise grubber from second row and ex-Rochdale man Jono Smith.

The deadlock was eventually broken in the 33rd minute when Rochdale were penalised for not being square at the play-the-ball, allowing Raiders stand-off Dallimore to kick the home side in front from 30 metres out.

Fieldhouse then had a try ruled out for an obstruction, but the Hornets were pinged for the same infringement 40 metres from their line soon after, with Dallimore again taking advantage to put Barrow in front at the break.

The home side pushed further ahead within four minutes of the restart when Smith scooped up a loose ball, setting up an attack which was finished with Dallimore sending centre Hulme over for the game’s first try.

An interception from Matty While then killed a promising Rochdale attack and when the Hornets knocked on in their own 20 metres from a kick by Johnston, it led to Barrow working a simple move from the scrum which saw Dallimore again providing the assist, this time for Fieldhouse.

And the contest was effectively settled on 62 minutes when Johnston set prop Bullock slicing through the defence for a third unconverted try, although Rochdale did keep their faint hopes of a fightback alive five minutes later when Setareki Talatoka chased down a kick for a score which Tyler Whittaker converted.

But it was not to be and Bullock put the seal on the win two minutes from time when he forced his way over for the Raiders’ fourth as the hosts claimed two more vital points in their survival battle.

Barrow Raiders: Ryan Fieldhouse; Shane Toal, Declan Hulme, Jarrad Stack, Tom Loxam; Jamie Dallimore, Ryan Johnston; Joe Bullock, Karl Ashall, Alec Susino, Jono Smith, Bradd Crellin, Dan Toal. Interchange: Nathan Mossop, Matty While, Glenn Riley, Ryan Duffy.

Rochdale Hornets: Declan Kay; Richard Lepori, Setareki Talatoka, Deon Cross, Rob Massam; Tyler Whittaker, Daniel Yates; Jovilisi Taira, Ben Moores, George King, Toby Adamson, Lee Mitchell, Gary Middlehurst. Interchange: Jonah Cunningham, Lewis Hatton, Patrick Moran, Luke Adamson.

Referee: Jack Smith.