THEY said it was going to be a roller-coaster ride; more ups and downs than a trip down Risedale Road.

After the previous week’s euphoric victory against Betfred Championship favourites Leigh Centurions at fortress Craven Park, our trip to Mount Pleasant – home to the Batley Bulldogs – wasn’t very pleasant at all.

We hadn’t won there for 17 years, but playing down the hill were 12-0 up after seven minutes. Barrow dominated the early exchanges and they almost went 18-0 up when the ball was dropped with the try-line begging.

Too good to be true, I thought, surely Batley are going to come back at us – and they surely did, scoring 32 unanswered points to win 32-12.

I didn’t see the game, but by all accounts Batley were far too big, strong and powerful, which they always have been, and it’s that size and power on their own pitch that has kept them in the Championship season after season.

Not many teams will come away from the slope with two points, so there’s no disgrace there. However, we must smarten up on the road and play a different game.

As coach Paul Crarey said post-match when asked how to win at places like Batley: “You’ve got to have big completion rates, kick it into the corner, kick it out and take it off the back three. If you start forcing the ball trying to get wins, you get yourself in a heap of trouble.”

Tomorrow doesn’t get any easier because it’s Batley’s near neighbours, and the other half of the Heavy Woollen derby, Dewsbury Rams, coming to Craven Park.

Dewsbury have had a fabulous start to the season, winning three from four; their only defeat in the capital against London Broncos, 12-0.

Last week they went to Swinton and won handsomely, and a couple of ex-Raiders players – Michael Knowles and Dom Speakman – have been instrumental in their success.

Dewsbury were struggling this time last year and then appointed local coach Neil Kelly, who has transformed team performances, ensuring they survived in the Championship last season to mount a promotion challenge this season.

I met Neil when I was on the board about 12 years ago after advertising for a new coach, when he was part of the coaching team at Ulster rugby union, and he almost came to Barrow.

You would like to think that if we can draw with Toronto Wolfpack and beat Leigh, we should be able to beat the Rams easily. But we all realise it is never that straightforward, and we have got to replicate those fantastic performances to get more survival points tomorrow.

Dewsbury centre Matt English made me laugh when he said in the local press: “Cumbrian sides are always the same, tight little grounds, not much space to play in, horrible pitches and it normally rains.” And he lives in Dewsbury!

“It’s always wet and muddy up there, I don’t think the sun ever shines up in Cumbria.” The Barrow crowd will hopefully give you a warm welcome, Matt!

Elsewhere, the Championship’s first coaching casualty came about when Neil Jukes resigned as head coach of Leigh after the Centurions were defeated by Toulouse Olympique, making it just one win in four.

I feared that would happen and it was good to see the supportive quote from Leigh chairman Derek Beaumont when he said: “My greatest memory of being involved in rugby league was gaining promotion to Super League and for that I'll be eternally grateful to Neil.

“Neil has been more than an employee and I class him as a personal friend. I'm sure he will continue to be that long after not only his involvement in rugby league ends, but also mine.”

Toronto are struggling as well and last week got hammered by London Broncos 47-16; who’s next?

See you tomorrow.