Unlucky Barrow Raiders fell to a strong Featherstone Rovers outfit 18-16 in the fourth round of the Challenge Cup last Saturday, writes Tony Colyer.

I thought we were going to repeat last season’s surprise victory when we were 16-12 in front with just four minutes remaining, but unfortunately, we couldn’t stop Rovers right wing Gareth Gale from scoring wide out in the corner.

With gale force winds dominating the proceedings, I didn’t think Craig Hall would convert the try from the touchline but he did and that was Rovers in the hat for round five where they have drawn League One team Hunslet at home.

The performance bodes well for the coming season and must have given all concerned a massive boost of confidence that, on their day, they almost overcome the Championship favourites and therefore should not fear any one in League One.

The only negative was the penalty count of 15 against and a team warning issued on the hour mark by the referee Aaron Moore for lack of discipline.

Two sin bins followed for the Raiders, which evened the numbers somewhat after Rovers had James Lockwood sent off a couple of minutes before half time.

The Challenge Cup journey is now more about money for clubs such as ours, but we wouldn’t have made much from a shared gate attendance of 1,120 so the ‘marquee’ signing will have to wait.

We move on and focus on the priority of promotion from League One.Tomorrow it’s the first league game of the season at the Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster.

Doncaster are fancied to do well but their last two performances haven’t been that impressive. A fortnight ago in the Challenge Cup round three they beat amateurs Thornhill in the last minute 24-20 and last week came unstuck at Derwent Park where they were beaten by Workington Town 22-12.

Head coach Richard Horne has made several key signings including his brother Graeme, centre Sam Smeaton, PNG internationals Watson Boas and centre Jason Tali, former ‘Man of Steel’ Rangi Chase, and just this week Jamaican international Danny Bravo on loan from Batley for the season.

Barrow head coach Paul Crarey was on commentary duty at Derwent Park last week so saw first hand the extent of the Doncaster threat.

They started well but fell away badly in the second half and I’m sure Paul has integrated into his game plan the lessons learned from that performance so Barrow can exploit and start the season with a victory.

The Keepmoat has always been difficult but if we can repeat the Featherstone performance without the penalties, we should be successful.

The other interesting match tomorrow is Workington Town v Keighley, which I am covering for BBC Radio Cumbria.

Chris Thorman is steadily building a strong Town side who will be difficult to beat at Derwent Park and Keighley, who almost went out of business, are now coached by ex-Hull KR Aussie forward Rhys Lovegrove.

It’s Lovegrove's first coaching appointment and he has tempted his mate Jake Webster from Bradford Bulls to join as a ‘marquee’ signing and to build a team around.

Barrow are trying everything possible to attract new support and their ‘free season ticket for kids’ venture is to be applauded. It may take time to encourage the numbers required, but it’s a step in the right direction.

I know it’s an old cliché but success on the field is a catalyst for success off the field.

Barrow AFC is a typical example; sitting at the top of the National League, they regularly attract 2,500-plus crowds and sponsorship has significantly increased. There is a buzz in the town and the atmosphere at Holker Street is electric.

Promotion is the objective for both clubs, AFC back in the Football League and Raiders back in the Championship are what both clubs deserve!