Barrow Raiders 22 Bradford Bulls 46

Barrow Raiders are staring into the abyss after not being able to live with a rampant Bradford Bulls, who eased to victory at Craven Park by picking their way through almost at will.

Bradford played at a frantic pace whenever they were in possession, but they were helped by the Raiders’ defence allowing them too much time and space in either making up ground or picking out their next option.

Their cause hasn’t been helped by injuries turning them into a makeshift outfit, with players having to be fielded out of position, which was the case during their desperate run in late spring.

On a prematurely autumnal day at Craven Park, this was pretty much their last chance to give themselves a realistic chance of escaping relegation from the Betfred Championship.

However, they were rarely in this contest and their fate could be sealed in their away game at Sheffield Eagles next week.

It was a big day for 18-year-old winger Adam Ford, who made his senior debut for Barrow after Tee Ritson failed a test on the concussion he sustained against York last week.

Just as in that game, Raiders fell behind early as Matt Garside made progress down the left before producing an off-load that sent Joe Keyes in under the posts.

The hosts produced a perfect riposte, however, as Luke Cresswell timed his pass to give Deon Cross an easy run in and Jamie Dallimore’s goal levelled at 6-6. But Bradford quickly drew back in front when Keyes broke from the last tackle before popping up an off-load to allow Garside to score.

The Bulls were getting in all too easily and had a third try in the 17th minute when Jordan Lilley caught the Raiders fast asleep before sending Ethan Ryan under the posts.

Barrow then conceded again off a last-tackle play when they stood off Keyes before his pass allowed Elliott Minchella to burrow his way over down the left.

Bradford continued to punch holes, with George Flanagan scoring their fifth try after 34 minutes when he burrowed his way over under the sticks before Keyes' penalty took their lead to 32-6 at half-time

That huge gap was narrowed slightly two minutes after the restart when Dallimore dummied before going through a gap to score a try he converted himself.

However, normal service was quickly resumed by the Bulls, as a slick move saw the ball worked out to the left, where Minchella was able to put Ross Oakes in enough space to dot the ball down.

Ford then marked his debut with a well-taken try by diving in down the left after some good hands from Declan Hulme, but Bradford soon struck yet again when some lovely handling led to Minchella scoring his second.

Barrow kept plugging away and grabbed their fourth try through Hulme, but inevitably Bradford had the final say with a minute left when Brandon Pickersgill went over down a left flank that had proved so profitable.

Barrow Raiders: Cresswell, Ford, Paisley, Hulme, Cross, Dallimore, White, Walker, Puara, Riley, Smith, Walne, Susino.

Interchange: Johnston, D Toal, Duffy, Seguier.

Tries: Cross 9, Dallimore 42, Ford, 50, Hulme 72

Goals: Dallimore (3)

Bradford Bulls: Pickersgill, Hitchcox, Evans, Oakes, Ryan, Keyes, Lilley, Crossley, Wildie, Hallas, Garside, Farrell, Minchella.

Interchange: Wood, Flanagan, Webster, Green.

Tries: Keyes 5, Garside 13, Ryan 17, Minchella 31, 53, Flanagan 34, Oakes 44, Pickersgill 79

Goals: Keyes (7)

Referee: Jack Smith

Attendance: 1,470

Raiders star man: Luke Cresswell