THE final place in the Barton Townley Cup semi-finals is up for grabs at Furness Rugby Union’s Strawberry Grounds tomorrow.

With Millom, Ulverston and Dalton already through to the last four of Barrow & District’s major knock-out competition, the winner of the tie between Barrow Island and Roose Pioneers (kick-off 2pm) will complete the quartet.

Island, promoted to Division Two of the National Conference League last year, will start favourites against their opponents, who have rejoined the North West Men’s League in Division Three.

But the home side will take nothing for granted ahead of what is their first match of the year.

“We have not had any pre-season friendlies so we are going into the game cold,” said Island head coach Joe Elliott.

“But we have almost a full complement of players with only three long term injuries.”

The club have lost two players to the professional ranks over the winter, with winger Jonathon Walsh moving up the coast to Workington Town and stand-off Jake Carter joining Barrow Raiders.

But Island have made several additions to the squad too, with recruits including Josh McBain making the switch from Walney Central and Adam Jackson moving from fellow NCL Divison Two side Askam.

Pioneers are still in the process of rebuilding after several seasons of struggle so a run-out against a strong Barrow Island will be an early guide to the progress so far, having racked up a treble haul of trophies in the Barrow & District League last year.

Another cup-tie with the promise of an interesting season opener is due to be played at Central Drive where Walney’s visitors are Oldham St Annes.

At stake is a place in the last eight of the BARLA National Cup. Cents made it through to this stage with a big win over Pennine League club Kinsley Raiders while St Annes defeated Halifax amateurs Ovendon 40-10 last Saturday.

Cents could benefit from a conflict of interests at the Oldham visitors, however, with St Annes double-booked this weekend as they are due to they open their NCL Division Three season away to Gateshead Storm.

Millom, fresh from their Challenge Cup exploits against Red Star Belgrade and NCL high fliers Siddal, will be aiming to start their NCL season in style and host a team from Oldham too in Waterhead Warriors.

The Woolybacks missed out on promotion from Division Three in the play-offs last year and are again aiming to be among the contenders at the top of the table, so will be eager to make a statement against Waterhead.