Ryan Higgins scored two tries as Furness Raiders held off a late comeback from Hopwood Hall College to win 26-22 in what was their final home league game of the season.

The young Raiders, who were under the charge of Dennis Porter in the absence of coach David Cairns, looked to be cruising towards a third straight win when Jack Newbiggin’s try put them 26-12 with a quarter of the match to play.

However, Hopwood belied their lowly status in the College Premier Division by pulling back a couple of tries that left the hosts sweating for a few minutes at Craven Park.

They held on, though, to maintain their fine form for the season and this was another good lesson for the under-19 side, which had Connor Terrill and Charlie Emslie in their ranks; two players who have recently been in action at senior level during Barrow Raiders’ pre-season friendlies.

Centre Pat Kelly said: “Their first try obviously rattled us a little bit, but then we kept our heads and kept playing our stuff and we ended up being in front all the way.

“They were a good physical side up the middle. I enjoy playing on the main pitch - it’s a good surface to play on and they’re a great bunch of lads to play with as well.

“We gel pretty well off the pitch as well. I didn’t think we’d bond with the younger lads that great, but we’ve got a good connection with them, us older lot, with the younger lads. We do a lot together.”

Hopwood soon silenced any suggestion that this was going to be a walk in the park for Furness, who have recorded one or two lop-sided results on their own patch this season.

It was the visitors who opened the scoring with a lovely move off the last tackle that was finished off just to the right of the posts, making the conversion a simple one.

This woke the Raiders up and they hit back in some style when Higgins finished down the right off a flowing move before Shane Sanderson stretched over from close range to put them into the lead.

Emslie than wasted a couple of glaring opportunities by first ignoring a pass that would have put a teammate in the clear before being guilty of a double movement in trying to force his way over.

However, the Millom product redeemed himself by rolling through the tackles to score the Raiders’ third try to give them a 16-6 half-time lead.

Hopwood pulled a try back early in the second half before scores from Higgins and Newbiggin opened up a gap that proved to be just about enough in the closing stages.