BARROW Raiders head coach Paul Crarey says he is looking forward to more hard battles with Cumbrian rivals Whitehaven.

Raiders emerged as 18-12 winners away to Haven in the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup at the weekend.

And speaking to the club’s official Facebook page after the game, Crarey said he was looking forward to more of the same when the sides go head to head in the league.

He said: “I spoke to a few of their lads as they were coming off and they said it was really tough, and that’s what we wanted from both sides.

“I thought both sides gave their all, and I thought the difference between the two sides was a little bit of execution from us.

“Our kicking was outstanding repeat set after repeat set.

“We are though by they skin of our teeth. They had an opportunity to go three on one and didn’t take it, and maybe that would have changed the momentum of the game.

“But we took our chance and I’m proud of our lads for what they have done.

“We are going to have some strong games against Haven during the season (as both sides lock horns in the Betfred Championship).

“Credit to Whitehaven  they absolutely gave us it and there are going to be some hard-fought games against them when the season progresses.”

Both Raiders and Haven found themselves locked in a relegation battle last season, but Crarey thinks both clubs have done well in the close season.

“They have built well and both sides have improved massively on last year,” he added.

“They went toe to toe with us and I thought Ryan King was outstanding on that right edge.

“It was a great test and great game and that was what we needed.

“We have gone against champ one teams and ground out a result against Workington the previous week.

“We had to be better (against Haven) we had 92 per cent completions in the first half and 93 second half, and repeat sets galore.”

There are areas of improvement that Crarey is looking to tackle, particularly penalties, although he admits he’d like the definitions to be clearer.

He said: “What we have go to clean up on is penalties on kick chases, giving them away. There were five or six penalties for offside, high-shots.

“I think the game has got to be looked at in terms of what is a high-shot, what is an offside.

“What we want is a spectacle for the fans, to have a team trapped in their own 20 and another team going at it. That’s part of Rugby League I feel so to let teams off and then the game gets played in the middle of the park.”

Crarey also paid tribute to Raiders travelling support after the game. He said: “I’d like to thank all of the fans. They were great on the other side of the field chanting and clapping our boys all the way through what was a really tough, tough game.”