THERE was a mild spring feeling in the air at Bootham Crescent yesterday, although it would have been no surprise if it was being turned blue in the Popular Stand where Barrow Raiders head coach Paul Crarey and his coaching staff were sat.

For there was little they could do but watch as newly-promoted York City Knights ran riot on their home patch, racking up a 56-0 victory and ending a 12-year wait for a victory over the Raiders in a merciless display.

No-one associated with Barrow went into this match with any doubt last year’s Betfred League One champions were not a side to take lightly, although at the same time not even the most ardent, optimistic York fan could have predicted this result.

To an extent, the Raiders were architects of their own downfall, because despite having a completion rate of over 85 per cent, they were found wanting on last-tackle plays several times.

Instead, they often ended with bizarre sights like Jono Smith putting in grubber kicks - good as they were, in fairness - while discipline proved problematic too, with Jarrad Stack being sin-binned for dissent and the returning Nathan Mossop given a yellow card in the second half for a ruck infringement.

They had no luck when they did breach the York defence either, with Ryan Johnston, Josh Johnson and Tom Walker all being held up over the try-line.

As much as Barrow might look at their own failings though, York played some scintillating, fast, attacking rugby and ruthlessly took opportunities they created.

The signs were ominous from the fourth minute when Barrow conceded two penalties for offside in quick succession and Joe Batchelor marked his first game back on loan from St Helens with a try, from which Connor Robinson kicked the first of nine conversions.

Having started badly for the Raiders, the match proceeded to go downhill from there and Batchelor was in again six minutes later, intercepting on halfway after Wartovo Puara Jr had fumbled a pass and racing clear to score.

Barrow did discover some composure after Robinson had kicked a penalty and exerted some pressure, but a break by Ben Cockayne led to Dave Petersen scoring on 35 minutes.

Matty Marsh then offloaded for Liam Satler to score in the right corner on the stroke of half time, and there was no let-up after the break.

Robinson grabbed two tries to go with his kicking exploits and Jason Bass bulldozed his way through for a hat-trick, with the hosts passing the half-century mark to compound an afternoon Barrow would rather forget.

York City Knights: Matty Marsh; Ash Robinson, Jason Bass, Liam Slater, Judah Mazive; Ben Cockayne, Connor Robinson; Ronan Dixon, Kristian Brinine, Grahame Horne, Joe Batchelor, Josh Jordan-Robertson, Dave Petersen. Interchange: Harry Carter, Jack Teanby, Jack Blagbrough, Joe Porter.

Barrow Raiders: Tee Ritson; Stargroth Amean, Deon Cross, Jake Spedding, Tom Loxam; Ryan Johnston, Lewis Charnock; Tom Walker, Wartovo Puara Jr, Josh Johnson, Jono Smith, Jarrad Stack, Jordan Walne. Interchange: Nathan Mossop, Martin Aspinwall, Willie Minoga, Bradd Crellin.

Referee: Liam Staveley.

Sin-bin: Barrow Raiders – Jarrad Stack (dissent, 49), Nathan Mossop (foul, 65).

Attendance: 2,000 approx.

Playback: 4 – Batchelor try, Robinson conv (6-0); 10 – Batchelor try, Robinson conv (12-0); 22 – Robinson pen (14-0); 35 – Petersen try, Robinson conv (20-0); 39 – Salter try, Robinson conv (26-0); 50 – Robinson try and conv (32-0); 55 – Bass try, Robinson conv (38-0); 62 – Robinson try and conv (44-0); 66 – Bass try, Robinson conv (50-0); 75 – Bass try, Robinson conv (56-0).

Raiders star man: Martin Aspinwall.