It was a weekend of celebration for the sport of rugby league with Wigan travelling to the Nou Camp; the home of Barcelona Football Club to play Catalan Dragons attracting a record crowd of 31,500 for a Super League match.

It was a great occasion and let’s hope the impact is long lasting with the people of Catalonia (population 7.6 million) getting behind the Dragons.

The two-day ‘Summer Bash’ was also a great advert for the standard of the Championship, with seven exciting match–ups.

Ralph Rimmer, the chief executive of the RFL said: “The live coverage provided by Sky Sports of all seven games gives the clubs invaluable exposure and setting the scene for further coverage of the top five play-offs leading to the Million Pound Game in the autumn."

An attendance of 7,912 on the first day represented a slight increase on the 2018 Saturday figure, and the attendance of 7,158 on Sunday was up by 3,500 on last year's Sunday figure.

Positive news, but the support for Bradford, Widnes and York was the main factor and, as previously stated, I think trying to accommodate all games in one day is worth a discussion with a strategy for keeping the supporters in the ground when their game is finished.

For Barrow it was a similar experience to last season, getting beat by Sheffield Eagles 30-18. In what was the Eagles’ third consecutive Summer Bash victory, Anthony Thackeray and Joel Farrell starred for the South Yorkshire club with a brace each.

The win was marred by the injuries to James Glover and ex-Raider Matt James who may be on side-lines for some time.

For me, it was a much-improved performance by Barrow, and I agree with the coach and the chairman that the only difference was the significant 20-minute second half period when the Eagles scored four tries.

Barrow matched them physically and discipline was pretty good; the only issue was the last tackle options which didn’t achieve the impact required. Based on what I saw, I think Sheffield will struggle to make the top five play-offs with Featherstone, Halifax and Leigh favourites to join Toronto and Toulouse.

As for Barrow, it is a battle for Championship survival along with Rochdale, Swinton, Batley and Dewsbury. There are 13 games left, starting tomorrow in the biggest game of the season against Rochdale Hornets at Craven Park, who are bottom of the league, one point behind us.

The Hornets were 30 -14 up against Swinton at Blackpool with 20 minutes to go and ended up getting beat 40 -30. The Hornets looked resplendent in their Soreen Malt loaf-sponsored shirts and the funniest moment was when was a break in the game provided winger Shaun Ainscough an opportunity to have a malt loaf snack which was concealed in his sock.

This was new coach Matt Calland’s third game in charge following the sacking of Carl Forster, who has since returned to Whitehaven as a player.

Calland has been busy recruiting since his appointment, signing up Rochdale Mayfield trio Callum Marriot, Lewis Sheridan and Aidy Gleeson, Wigan loanees James Worthington and Reece Hamlett and Wigan St Cuthbert’s back rower Michael Coleman, who has been training at Salford. The seventh signing was completed this week with the signing of Oscar Thomas from relegation rivals Swinton.

It goes without saying this is a must win game, but it will be a very tough encounter and I would encourage the Furness public to get behind the team and cheer the Raiders to victory.

Older Barrow fans such as myself will remember Calland having to eat humble pie as coach of Halifax back in 2009 when Barrow won the Championship Grand Final.

Prior to game he said: “We are a country mile better Barrow." Let’s hope his judgement is just as flawed on Sunday.