BARROW took the spoils in this opening fixture in League One of the 2021 season but they were made to put the work in by the Coventry Bears at Butts Park Arena. 

It looked like a cricket score was on the horizon as the Raiders shot into a 18-0 with only fifteen minutes on the clock. However, the home side had other ideas as they stood toe to toe with the favourites to land the title come the end of term.

A further forty points were added, but they were shared with both teams scoring twenty.

Though the Raiders were ahead throughout, it was nip and tuck as the game hung in the balance on 72 minutes at 20-28.

Then winger Shane Toal stepped up and scored a spectacular diving try on the flag as he crashed over. The Bears were left with 12 men as Hill headed to the sinbin.

The opening exchanges were even before the visitors went ahead on eight minutes with a Nathan Mossop try after both Adam Walne, Carl Forster and Jarrad Stack had all been stopped short of the line. Jake Carter added the goal points for 0-6.

Within minutes the Bears lost possession on the half way point, and Barrow swooped to go up field from where good approach work from Mossop and Forster which enabled Carter to nip over and also convert 0-12.

From the re-start, Dan Coates kick hit the goal post before coming back into play. Barrow took play deep and when Johnston’s high ball evaded Reece Rance and nipped Mark Tyson to gather and score. Carters’ touchline goal sailing between the upright for 0-18.

This livened up the Bears who came back to cross through Nathan Hill from close range, unconverted 4-18.

Two minutes later it was 10-18 with Barry Ho finding his way over for Coates to convert.

Their joy was short-lived as Barrow piled on the pressure and despite the attention of three defenders, Forster plunged over for Carter to tag on the two goal points 10-24.

Poor marking by the Raiders allowed the home side to hit back before the break as Hill cut inside to touchdown 14-24 at the break.

Eleven minutes into the second period pressure from the Raiders saw Carter reach the touchdown for his second try. The score stood at 14-28.

Despite having 14-point cushion, it was far from over for the visitors.

A towering high ball from Hill saw Wellham outleap defenders to score, and Coates tagging on the goal 20-28.

The Bears went close with a chip over the line with Ritson swooping to cover sixty yards downfield before being held. Hill was binned for an infringement in the tackle as Barrow piled on the pressure in his absence.

In the long run it paid off as Toal dived in at the corner, followed by Adam Walne's debut try in the final minute.

Carter closed the scoring with a final kick.

The ending score were Coventry Bears on 20 but Barrow Raiders were victorious on 38.

The Barrow team consisted of Creswell, Ritson, Hulme, Tyson, S Toal, Carter, Johnston, Forster, Mossop, Walne, Hopkins, Stack, Harrison.

Subs used were Swarbrick, D Toal, Duffy, Bustin.