Barrow Raiders have the spectre of relegation looming over them as the season comes towards its conclusion, but the form of full back Luke Cresswell has been a rare bright spot for them in recent weeks.

Cresswell performed superbly in a losing effort in the Raiders’ home matches against York City Knights and Bradford Bulls, with most of the home sides brightest moments coming through him.

It was his try against York that sparked Barrow’s spirited second half fightback, while he was one of the few home players who consistently threatened to gain attacking ground during the disappointing 46-22 loss against the Bulls last Sunday.

The former Barrow Island youngster, who grabbed a hat-trick against Featherstone in June, has had a successful return to the side as a whole since returning from the knee ligament injury that kept him out for nearly a year.

Head coach Paul Crarey said: “People have got to realise the kid has come back from massive knee surgery.

“We were told, physically, we couldn’t play him every week when he first came back. He was in and out for two weeks and stuff like that and we’ve looked after him so he could find his feet.

“He’s starting to come back to nearly at his best now, he supports the ball better than anybody.

“These are the kids we’ve brought through since we’ve been here. We’ve picked them out of the amateur game, the likes of Adam Ford, Ryan Johnston, Jake Carter, who will all be able to play at this level in the few years.”

Cresswell set up the try for Deon Cross that briefly levelled the match against Bradford, but the result quickly went away from the Raiders after Matt Garside’s try restored the visitors’ lead after 13 minutes.

Crarey accepts that was a massive turning point, saying: “That tends to be the story for us. I think when you’ve been on a losing run for so long, you don’t believe you can win when you’re waiting for them to score before you can have a go back.

“We were looking down the barrel at 32-6 down at half-time, but they didn’t have a lot of field position in the second half.

“We outscored them 16-14 in the second half - we actually won the second half - but what we did in the first half, where last-tackle plays really let us down and we ended up conceding soft tries that really could have been prevented.