BARROW Raiders’ Papua New Guinean trio made a winning start to life at Craven Park as the hosts got off the mark in pre-season with a 24-8 victory over Whitehaven.

Stargroth Amean, Wartovo Puara Jr and Willie Minoga were all handed their first starts for the club just over a week after arriving in the country, with Puara earning the man of the match award from the sponsors.

Amean, however, was forced off with a suspected rib injury early in the second half, following his compatriot in the Whitehaven side Dion Aiye down the tunnel after he had to go off with some soft tissue damage in the first half.

However, it was still a positive afternoon for the Raiders, who showed improvement from the previous week’s defeat to Oldham.

Haven were only able to field one of their Papua New Guineans as Jessie Joe Parker’s visa had still not come through in time for him to play. There were two ex-Raiders in action for them though as Matty While and Ruairi McGoff started in the two prop positions.

It was the hosts who had the better of the opening minutes and found themselves on Whitehaven’s line twice early on but were unable to make the most of it. At the other end, James Newton came closest to scoring for the away side, only to be stopped just short of the line.

The breakthrough came for Barrow in the 19th minute on a last-tackle play which saw hooker Puara flick a pass from a play-the-ball inside to hard-running forward Jordan Walne for him to power over from close range, followed by Jamie Dallimore.

But a knock-on from the restart by the Raiders gave Whitehaven the perfect base to attack from with a scrum 10 metres from the line and their patient build-up play was rewarded when Sam Forrester benefitted from a fortuitous bounce on a grubber kick to dot down.

Jordan Burns was unable to make what seemed like a kickable conversion though and he was then left holding his head in his hands on the half-hour mark when he missed an attempt to field a kick through from Lewis Charnock, resulting in the Barrow scrum-half running in to score and convert.

The Raiders were in again two minutes later when another grubber – this time from rookie stand-off Jake Carter – was mishandled, Deon Cross being the beneficiary this time followed by Charnock again kicking the extras.

That made it 18-4 at half time and it took barely three minutes of the second half for Barrow to add to their tally when Charnock broke from his own half and drew in a Haven defender before passing inside for Tee Ritson to race in from over 30 metres out for another converted score.

Andre Bulman did get an unconverted try back for Haven 15 minutes from time, doing well to get the ball down in the left corner under pressure from Adam Ford, while Barrow finished the match with 12 men after Ryan Duffy was sin-binned in the 77th minute for a high tackle on Callum Philips.

Barrow Raiders: Stargroth Amean; Tee Ritson, Declan Hulme, Deon Cross, Tom Loxam; Jamie Dallimore, Charnock; Walker, Puara, Minoga, Jono Smith, Bradd Crellin, Martin Aspinwall.  Interchange: Jake Carter, Ryan Duffy, Glenn Riley, Jordan Walne, Adam Ford, Charlie Emslie.

Whitehaven: Sam Forrester; Andre Bulman, Jason Mossop, Dave Thompson, Jordan Burns; Dion Aiye, Callum Philips; Matty While, James Newton, Ruairi McGoff, Tom Wilkinson, Conner Harper, Lewis Brown. Interchange: Jake Bradley, Rhys Burr, Jordan Thompson, Chris Taylor.

Referee: Gareth Hewer.