Barrow Ladies’ superb achievements in the Women’s Championship this season is earning their players national recognition after seven of them were called up into trials for the England Community Lions squad.

Just one year after narrowly avoiding relegation, Barrow reached the play-off final in the Championship off the back of seven straight wins before being defeated by heavy favourites Warrington Wolves.

The big strides their squad have made during the year have been rewarded with call-ups for captain Jodie Litherland, team manager Emily Stirzaker, Hannah Sherlock, Jodie Crawford, Nat Saunders, Leah Cottier and Beth Lindsey.

If they successfully come through the trials, they could have the chance of pulling on an England jersey for the Lions’ match against Wales at Leigh Miners on Saturday, November 16.

Head coach Simon Woodend said: “It’s good that the players get the recognition of the hard work the individuals, and team as a whole, has put in from pre-season training to our last game in the Grand Final.

"I think it opens the ladies’ eyes to say that with hard work and commitment, everyone has a chance to progress and get to the next level.”

What makes it extra special for Woodend is that all seven players have come through the club’s system, showing the growth of women’s rugby league in the area during the last few years.

He said: “Barrow Island, over the years, has produced some great male players that have gone on and played for England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales and some are now playing for Super League clubs.

“The club has backed the ladies all the way and there is a great set up at the club. Now that the ladies have been given this chance to be part of this process, it proves that it’s in every players grasp to progress to a high standard should they want to.”

Woodend admits the scale of Barrow’s achievements this year have come as a surprise even to him, with interest growing all the time giving them the chance to build on finishing as runners-up.

He said: “All the lasses that have got this call up fully deserve the chance, but to be honest I don’t think anyone could have predicted how well this season has gone for us as a team.

“It’s a testament to all the effort and planning that the new coaching team have done and the fact that the players have bought into the process, and changes, which has combined to make this happen.

“It’s been a big team of people that has been put together for the squad to progress as well as we have, and credit must go to all who have been involved in progressing these ladies.”