IT was a very spirited and competitive performance, but unfortunately Featherstone just had the edge and therefore the nearly two-year unbeaten home record came to an end.

At 22-22 with 15 minutes to go, I thought we had every chance, but with too many penalties awarded from whistle-happy referee Mr Crashley and being punished by three quick Rovers tries, it was game over.

Every Raiders player gave their all, and Dean Parata and Jono Smith had their best games so far – scoring a try apiece.

Meanwhile, local product Ryan Johnston came into the side and provided structure and maturity to the half-backs, and deserves more first-team opportunities based on that performance.

Featherstone knew they had been in a game and there wasn’t much between the two teams. The main difference for me was the speed of the attack and the last tackle execution.

But as Rovers head coach John Duffy said to me in a pre-match interview, they knew it was going to be tough but expectations were high due to the fact they had spent a considerable amount of money (£750,000-plus) assembling the squad.

The money came from the fact that Rovers finished in the top four last season, which earned a considerable amount of prize money as a result. That is the incentive for all clubs, but overspending and finishing lower down the League could be a disaster for a club like Barrow so we have to be a bit prudent at this stage of our progress.

Maintaining Championship status is the objective and based on results thus far there is no reason why we can’t finish above Swinton Lions, Sheffield Eagles and Rochdale Hornets, who have very limited budgets as well.

Tomorrow it’s the Challenge Cup fifth round against Championship leaders the Canadian ‘millionaires’ Toronto Wolfpack.

Even though they have recruited a team of superstars, they haven’t had an easy ride so far and have had to dig in deep to get those victories. A two-point victory at Toulouse was followed up by a 24-16 win at Batley and last week they struggled to beat Dewsbury Rams 23-12.

I watched it on TV and the scoreline wasn’t a true reflection of the game, with Dewsbury matching Toronto all the way.

Wolfpack Head coach Paul Rowley said: “Both sides showed nothing but 100 per cent and I’m very happy to come away with another win. That’s officially our last away game in the league now so we’ll look forward to coming home.”

After tomorrow, Toronto play Halifax in London as a ‘home’ game and then go back to Canada due to play Swinton in Ontario on May 5, 30 miles from their own Lamport Stadium which is still undergoing refurbishment.

Barrow have proven we can compete with the Wolfpack in that magnificent 8-8 draw and we can do the same again. There is nothing to fear and nothing to lose as it is a Challenge Cup tie, although a home draw against Wigan Warriors, St Helens or Leeds Rhinos in the next round would be good for the bank account.

Since the draw, Toronto have strengthened their squad considerably with the arguably one of the club’s biggest coups to date, Darcy Lussick, after agreeing a release from Manly Sea Eagles in Australia.

Lussick is the third big name signing for the club in recent weeks, and the prop forward follows in the footsteps of Gareth O’Brien and Chase Stanley.

However, this week they announced that long serving fullback Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e will leave the club. The former Samoan international has been released with immediate effect, ending an 18-month spell with Pack.

After six seasons in the Championship with Sheffield Eagles, in which he scored a sensational 183 tries in just over 200 appearances, QLT – as he is affectionately known – was one of the first players to put pen to paper and his exit is a bit of a surprise.

See you tomorrow.