A SPIRITED display from Barrow Raiders saw them push Toronto Wolfpack all of the way before eventually bowing out of this season’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup in a 16-12 defeat.

The Raiders led by two points at half time thanks to converted tries from Nathan Mossop and Martin Aspinwall, but Nick Rawsthorne’s score – converted by Ryan Brierley – eight minutes after the restart proved to be the game-breaker for the Canadians.

Their efforts were appreciated by the Craven Park faithful, who applauded Barrow’s players off the pitch, although a slight downer was put on the performance with Alec Susino and Ryan Fieldhouse having to go off for head injury assessments.

Raiders head coach Paul Crarey made two changes to the Raiders team which lost to Featherstone Rovers in the Betfred Championship last week, with winger Shane Toal and second row Danny Morrow both coming back in.

Toronto had made a positive start to the tie and although winger Rawsthorne was prevented from scoring thanks to some fine tackling from Toal and Jarrad Stack, the visitors were in for an unconverted score on four minutes when Ryan Brierley sent Gareth O’Brien over.

A superb last-ditch tackle from Declan Hulme then forced Adam Higson into touch as he dived for the line, which was followed by a long spell of pressure due to at least four repeat sets from Barrow deep in Toronto territory.

Somehow, the Wolfpack managed to hold out and won the ball back from a short drop-out. However, a handling error gifted possession back to Barrow and then, on the back of a penalty, the hosts set up an attack which was finished under the posts by Mossop on 18 minutes, with Jamie Dallimore converting.

Toronto retook the lead in the 24th minute following an attack from their own 20-metre line which ended when Bob Beswick charged through the defence for a try converted by Ryan Brierley.

But three minutes later, the Raiders were back ahead following another knock-on by the Canadians and it came when Ryan Johnston shimmied through the defence before offloading for loose forward Aspinwall to scramble over – Dallimore again adding the extras.

The home side were able to maintain that two-point advantage at half time as their defence held firm, and even on the one occasion the line was breached by Rawsthorne, play was called back for a forward pass.

Barrow returned to the field clearly fired up and at one point managed to keep Toronto inside their 20 for four consecutive tackles. However, the away side were able to break the line and send Rawsthorne racing the rest of the way for a try out wide which Brierley was able to convert.

The match became a real see-saw affair after this with neither team able to break the other down, although Barrow were left feeling hard done by when Hulme was wiped out chasing a kick and only a penalty was awarded, rather than a yellow card being shown as well.

Both teams had possible tries ruled out too; Dallimore for Barrow when play was pulled back for a knock-on and Andy Ackers for Toronto when Liam Kay’s final pass was forward. But it was Toronto who progressed to the next stage of the competition.

Barrow Raiders: Ryan Fieldhouse; Shane Toal, Declan Hulme, Jarrad Stack, Gene Ormsby; Jamie Dallimore, Ryan Johnston; Joe Bullock, Nathan Mossop, Alec Susino, Danny Morrow, Jono Smith, Martin Aspinwall. Interchange: Dean Parata, Bradd Crellin, Tom Walker, Ryan Duffy.

Toronto Wolfpack: Gareth O’Brien; Adam Higson, Chase Stanley, Nick Rawsthorne, Liam Kay; Ryan Brierley, Josh McCrone; Jacob Emmit, Bob Beswick, Ashton Sims, Jack Bussey, Richard Whiting, Sam Hopkins. Interchange: Darcy Lussick, Adam Sidlow, Jack Buchanan, Andy Ackers.

Referee: Greg Dolan.