IT was wet, it was wild and it proved the old adage that – in rugby league, at least – there really is no such thing as a friendly.

With pretty much ever player on both teams caked head to toe in mud, it was a throwback to another era too. An era of winter rugby and where Barrow Raiders could compete on equal terms with the likes of Wigan Warriors.

And while pre-season results may not mean much, the home side’s performance in earning an 18-18 draw will have provided huge encouragement ahead of this Sunday’s Betfred Championship opener away to Batley Bulldogs.

Even though Wigan fielded a mix of senior and youth players, the Super League champions were still a formidable side. Yet Barrow matched them throughout the 80 minutes, with their defence in particular proving strong and only being undone by some clever kicks from the visitors.

The horrendous weather conditions were something of a leveller too, especially in a low-scoring first half which ended with the sides being deadlocked at 4-4 and contributed to a string of handling errors from both teams.

Nothing could separate them at full time either and that was thanks to a last-gasp penalty goal from Raiders stand-off Jamie Dallimore, who must have ice water running through his veins.

Or maybe that was just because of the cold weather. Either way, the outcome was no less than Barrow deserved.

Wigan actually out-scored Barrow four tries to three, kicking one conversion, and the first of those tries came, predictably, through ex-Raider Chris Hankinson on 14 minutes – albeit in somewhat fortuitous circumstances when Morgan Escare immediately kicked ahead for the centre to score in the right corner from an attempted short drop-out by Barrow.

Some indiscipline from the Warriors allowed the hosts to exert some pressure on their line though and they made the most of that on 23 minutes when Jono Smith ran a smart line to take a pass from dummy-half Wartovo Puara and crash through.

A further string of penalties led to the visitors being placed on a team warning and Oliver Partington being sin-binned just before the break, followed by Wigan knocking on early in the second half and Tom Walker powering over from close range for a converted score on 49 minutes.

A dink over the top from ex-Workington Town half-back Jarrod Sammut for Joe Brown and James Worthington chasing down his own grubber to score, just after Lewis Charnock had been sin-binned with the Raiders on a team warning for repeated infringements, narrowed the deficit to two points.

But then Deon Cross scored in a similar manner to Worthington, with Dallimore converting to make it 16-12 with 11 minutes left.

Wigan rallied again and when Samuel Kibula rumbled over, with Sammut converting, on 73 minutes it seemed as if they would hold on. That was until they conceded a penalty 30 metres out with 17 seconds left, which Dallimore duly slotted over.

Barrow Raiders: Stargroth Amean; Tee Ritson, Deon Cross, Jake Spedding, Tom Loxam; Jamie Dallimore, Lewis Charnock; Tom Walker, Wartovo Puara Jr, Glenn Riley, Jono Smith, Bradd Crellin, Martin Aspinwall.

Interchange: Ryan Johnston, Jake Carter, Jordan Walne, Willie Minoga, Adam Ford, Ryan Duffy, Declan Hulme.

Wigan Warriors: Morgan Escare; Craig Mullen, Chris Hankinson, James Worthington, Liam Forsyth; Jake Shorrocks, Jarrod Sammut; Taulima Tautai, Joshua Ganson, Liam Byrne, Liam Paisley, Oliver Partington, Callum Field.

Interchange: Samuel Kibula, Morgan Smithies, Ben Kilner, Aiden Roden, Joseph Shorrocks, Joe Brown, Nathan Wilde, Umyla Hanley, Harry Smith.

Referee: Scott Mikalauskas

Sin-bin: Barrow Raiders – Lewis Charnock (collective, 62); Wigan Warriors – Oliver Partington (shoulder charge, 39).

Attendance: 2,248.

Playback: 14 – Hankinson try (0-4); 23 – Smith try (4-4); 49 – Walker try, Charnock conv (10-4); 54 – Brown try (10-8); 64 – Worthington try (10-12); 69 – Cross try, Dallimore conv (16-12); 73 – Kibula try, Sammut conv (16-18); 80 – Dallimore pen (18-18).