It has been a wonderful rise for Barrow Ladies this season and they’ll be looking to round it off in the grand manner this afternoon in the Women’s Championship play-off final against Warrington Wolves.

Barrow reached this stage by defeating Stanningley 14-12 in a tense semi-final at Rating Lane last week and it is a great reward for their superb form towards the end of the season.

Two tries from team manager Emily Stirzaker, who was recently called up by Great Britain Teachers, helped them to what was their seventh straight win, but they face a really tough task if they are to become champions, as Warrington have swept almost all before them this year.

Nonetheless, what happens at the Manchester Region Arena (kick-off 1:30pm), getting this far represents just how much women’s rugby league in the area has grown in the last 12 months.

Coach Simon Woodend said: “The achievements we have done for women in rugby league are unmeasurable.

“To go from struggling to get a team last year to now having 30-plus players available at various times throughout the season has been great.

“This has posed other issues for team selection with having to rotate players around for certain games, but we can still field a strong team, even with five starting players out with season-ending injuries. This is once again a credit to the ladies squad and the numbers they have recruited.

“With Barrow Raiders getting involved with a female rugby league youth programme, and our ladies helping out at these sessions, hopefully this will develop these girls with the intention off feeding into our squad.”

Reaching the play-off final was a faraway dream for Barrow last year, after they finished sixth out of eight teams in the Women’s Championship.

This time around, they won all but three of their fixtures in the regular season and have played their first-ever match at Craven Park, against Oulton last month, but they know how hard a prospect the Wolves are.

Woodend said: “It’s a case of David versus Goliath and Wolves are the favourites and we are happy for them to be.

“I would expect them to be a hard and fast team with some great skills but im confident if we can play to our maximum potential, completed our sets and get a little luck we can compete with them on their level.

“We will be ready to give it 100 per cent for the full 80 minutes. When the whistle goes at the end of the match, whatever the score is, it is.

“As long as we perform to the best of our ability and do ourselves proud then we will all be happy. The way our season has gone from strength to strength, we are already winners regardless of the result.”

Woodend also wanted to thank main sponsors Larkin Hire and West Point House for their help this season,