Barrow Raiders will play their first game of the upcoming 2021 season in the first weekend of March.

The Rugby Football League (RFL) confirmed on Wednesday that the Betfred League One club will start the season on the weekend of March 6.

Raiders chairman Steve Neale is delighted with the announcement.

“The fact that we have got a date is really good news,” he said.

“I am just happy that we have got something concrete that we can aim for now which helps with the planning side of things.

The Mail: CHAIRMAN: Steve NealeCHAIRMAN: Steve Neale

“It will help the coaching staff with preparation, knowing how many weeks it is until we play our first competitive game.”

Head coach Paul Crarey added: “We have got something to work to and plan to, which is good news for everybody.

“The biggest thing for me now is how many pre-season friendlies we can now have.”

Crarey’s side will start their season with a first-round tie in the Challenge Cup.

The Mail: COACH: Paul CrareyCOACH: Paul Crarey

If the Raiders are successful in their opening fixture, they will then play a second-round match the following weekend.

The Raiders will open their League One campaign on the weekend of March 20.

This will mean that it will have been a year since the Raiders last played a league game; a 50-6 win over Coventry Bears at Craven Park.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the RFL have decided that this season’s league tables will be determined by a points percentage system.

Chairman Neale believes that the system will ensure fairness across the leagues.

He said: “They have put this in place as a safety net just in case the Covid-19 pandemic does continue into the early months of the season.

“I am very hopeful that by March and April we will be through the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“But we have seen in the recent Super League season that there were games lost through players testing positive quite frequently, so I think it’s a necessary evil.”

A draw will take place in the new year to determine which side the Raiders will face in the Challenge Cup.