A POINT lost or a point gained?

Another controversial last-minute penalty from Jamie Dallimore rescued Barrow from defeat at Heywood Road, gaining another hard-fought draw 22-22 against Swinton who we drew with 16-16 at Craven Park on Easter Monday.

Two draws against the only side in the Championship not to have won a game is very unusual and I must have put the mockers on Chris Hankinson last week when I said he was one of the best goalkickers in rugby league.

He missed a few on Sunday which rarely happens, so Barrow were fortunate to escape with a point and the Swinton faithful couldn’t believe the award of the penalty for holding down in the tackle with a minute left.

However, Barrow had quite a few injuries to contend with and at the end of the day a point is a point and may well prove valuable at the end of the season.

Today it’s the start of the two-day Summer Bash at Blackpool with the Raiders taking on Sheffield Eagles for the third time this season in the opening match.

Two victories so far, once in the Challenge cup and the other in the league only a few weeks ago, probably makes Barrow favourites, but every encounter against the Eagles is a close competitive affair and I’m sure this game won’t be any different.

Sheffield have been slowly improving since those two defeats and have gained victories on the road against Swinton and Rochdale. Last week they put up a solid performance against London Broncos but were well beaten 46-12 with Mark Aston a happy man, stating: “It was probably our best performance for a long while, for 30 minutes in the second half we didn’t concede.

“It was 20-12 until they did what they can do at times and broke away to score a few long-range tries.

“The scoreline flatters them, it was a really positive performance from our guys and I was delighted.”.

Aston has also been busy in the transfer market acquiring his son Cory Aston from Castleford once again, and he will be playing today.

The influence of St Helens players in the Eagles set-up has been important this year. Jack Ashworth, Matty Lees and James Bentley have all featured in the pack during the season and may well play against Barrow as they were left out of the St Helens squad on Thursday.

Ex-Raiders favourite and club captain Matt James also hopes to be fit after been sidelined with a foot injury.

The Eagles’ clash with Barrow (3pm kick-off) will be the first Championship game of the event, following on from the Women’s Super League clash between Featherstone Rovers and Bradford Bulls (12.30pm).

The game wasn’t going to be televised, but Sky have now decided that it will, so a great opportunity for the Furness public to see what they have been missing this season. A new video ref system is also going to be trialled at the Bash with restrictions on what the video referee can look at to speed up decision making.

A year ago, Barrow beat North Wales Crusaders in the League One Cup final at Blackpool and Sheffield won their Championship fixture against Swinton 30-24.

Barrow should have some key players back and let’s hope we can put on a show for the rugby league viewers.

Joe Bullock and Jono Smith are on fire, and if the backs can follow them around Bloomfield Road and feed off their bursts we should have too much for Sheffield.

However, we must be disciplined, and if we are going to come away from Blackpool with anything other than a stick of rock, everyone must be at the top of their game.

Seven points clear of the relegation zone, another win here will put pressure on seventh-laced Batley and survival will be in touching distance.

Good luck!