THE celebrations lasted until long after the final hooter had sounded, with Swinton Lions' travelling fans singing their hearts out after their team downed Barrow Raiders 33-26 to record their first win of the 2019 Betfred Championship season.

By contrast, many of the home fans – those who had not departed Craven Park before the end, anyway – were to be found in the Raiders Bar pondering the same question: Where do Barrow go from here?

There are no givens in sport at any level, although this was a game the Raiders would certainly have considered themselves to have a good chance of getting back to winning ways inf.

They had certainly given themselves the perfect platform to go on and do that at half time, leading 18-12 and, at times, playing with the sort of confidence and elan which has been the hallmark of Paul Crarey's Barrow side.

But after the break, things began to unravel. Errors started to creep in and confidence seemed to drain away as Swinton rallied to earn their first points of the year.

The Raiders were not helped by the vagaries of the new rules; at one point being down to 12 men when Stargroth Amean went off for treatment to an injury at a scrum after the shot clock had expired, meaning he could not go back on until the hosts had the ball again or wanted to use one of their precious eight interchanges.

Swinton scored during this period, although they belied their reputation as the Championship's whipping boys throughout.

Yes, the Lions have the advantage of being able to call on dual-registration from Wigan Warriors – ex-Raider Chris Hankinson and Dalton youth product Liam Paisley, who scored a try, among the four who lined up against the Raiders – but Stuart's Littler's own men showed they can play too, once they reduced the handling errors and penalties.

There were some positives for Barrow though, not least the Toal brothers Dan and Shane making their respective returns from injury – the latter over a month ahead of schedule.

Luke Cresswell was a constant threat from full-back and was at the heart of many of the Raiders' best attacks, including the ones which led to Deon Cross scoring out wide in the first half and Jordan Walne's score too.

But having got the game back to 20-20 with 21 minutes left via a Jamie Dallimore penalty, Barrow were hit by two quick tries by forwards Gavin Bennion and Paisley punching through the defence close to the line.

The way Barrow broke to give themselves a fighting chance with Cross' second, converted by Dallimore, with five minutes left gave encouragement, only for Oscar Thomas' drop-goal to seal it.

Barrow Raiders: Luke Cresswell; Shane Toal, Jarrad Stack, Deon Cross, Stargroth Amean; Jamie Dallimore, Lewis Charnock; Josh Johnson, Wartovo Puara Jr, Jordan Walne, Willie Minoga, Danny Morrow, Bradd Crellin. Interchange: Nathan Mossop, Dan Toal, Glenn Riley, Alec Susino.

Swinton Lions: Jack Hansen; Mike Butt, Chris Hankinson, Liam Forsyth, Matthew Ashton; Harry Smith, Robert Fairclough; Gavin Bennion, Luke Waterworth, Lewis Hatton, Liam Paisley, Kyle Shelford, Jamie Acton. Interchange: William Brickhill, Jose Kenga, Paddy Jones, Oscar Thomas.

Referee: Marcus Griffiths.

Attendance: 1,357.

Playback: 4 – Forsyth try, Smith conv (0-6); 7 – Cross try (4-6); 18 – Walne try, Dallimore conv (10-6); 20 – Dallimore pen (12-6); 35 – Forsyth try, Smith conv (12-12); 37 – Mossop try, Dallimore conv (18-12); 45 – Butt try (18-16); 52 – Hansen try (18-20); 59 – Dallimore pen (20-20); 69 – Bennion try, Thomas conv (20-26); 73 – Paisley try, Thomas conv (20-32); 75 – Cross try, Dallimore conv (26-32); 79 – Thomas DG (26-33).

Raiders star man: Luke Cresswell.