Barrow Raiders head coach Paul Crarey has praised his players for the way they toughed out their first competitive outing of the year against London Skolars, which included them picking up a couple of injuries.

Crarey is praying for better luck when it comes to having his key players available than the previous campaign, which felt like one continual injury crisis, and he was able to name a strong line-up for the Coral Challenge Cup tie against the Skolars.

Other than Jarrad Stack (knee), there weren’t too many absentees and should still be the case for the fourth round tie against Featherstone Rovers, after the Raiders scored seven tries in their 38-18 win against the team from the capital.

There was one scare during the first half at Craven Park, however, when Jordan Walne was taken out off the ball in the 19th minute by Skolars second row Mike Greenhalgh, who was sin-binned for the offence.

“We had to make a few changes - Lee Jewitt dislocated his shoulder but it popped back in and Jordan Walne got a real off-the-ball knock,” Crarey said.

“I thought it should have been a red card on that play because he caught him really hard off the ball and we’ll have a look at that.

“We left him for as long as possible and it was Jordan’s call to go back on just to see how he’d react - we were going to leave him off, but with ten minutes to go he said he wanted to see how he’d react to contact, so we put him back in there.

“There were some massive performances out there. We had 70 minutes from Carl Forster, I thought Danny Toal was absolutely outstanding in his spell and did massive minutes and the new lads when they went on, the amateur kids [Mark Tyson and Tom Hopkins] were really enthusiastic.”

Crarey was, however, frustrated with how the ruck was refereed, which he felt slowed the game down and prevented his team from fully getting into their stride.

He said: “We’ve got to realise that sides are going and stop us playing, but also the referees have got to realise that we want to play rugby and we want to get out of this division and it was so slow at the ruck.

“There was no movement at the rucks from both sides and at half-time, we said that we could get away with a bit of lying down because no-one was getting penalised.

“We ended up trying to do it ourselves, which is not characteristic of Barrow, when we’re trying to play real quick, but that’s how it ended up and that’s what you probably get in League One because it’s not as quick as the Championship.”