A HAT-trick from Shane Toal inspired a stunning comeback from Barrow Raiders as they ran in 32 second-half points to see off Sheffield Eagles in Sunday afternoon’s Betfred Championship clash at Craven Park.

The Raiders had been staring down the barrel of their first home defeat since May 2016 when they trailed by 14 points at half time, but managed to rally after the break on the back of a treble from flying wide-man Toal.

Declan Hulme and Danny Morrow were the only two changes to the Barrow Raiders side as they hosted Sheffield for the second week in a row.

Hulme came back into the centre alongside Andy Litherland, with recent signing Gene Ormsby rested ahead of the two games over the Easter weekend.

Morrow returned in the second row in place of Jarrad Stack, who begins his two-match suspension, while Alec Susino continued at loose forward due to Martin Aspinwall still recovering from a sternum injury.

Sheffield fielded a much-changed side from last week’s 28-16 defeat to Barrow in the Challenge Cup, with director of rugby Mark Aston’s son Cory and prolific winger Garry Lo among those returning to the visitors’ line-up.

The home side made a bright start to the match, with Luke Cresswell being denied a try on five minutes after being dragged down just short of the line and then Hulme throwing the ball into touch with Shane Toal just outside of him.

It was the resulting scrum which led to Sheffield opening the scoring on 11 minutes as Jack Spedding made the break down the right wing, brushing past several would-be tacklers, and then passed to Ben Blackmore for him to score out wide.

Stand-off Aston added the extras and just four minutes later, the Raiders lost Brett Carter to the sin-bin when he was deemed to have been guilty of holding down Ryan Millar to kill a counter-attack from the Eagles.

The visitors duly made the most of their numerical advantage, first on 17 minutes when Matty Fozard scooped up a loose ball from a Barrow knock-on to score – converted by Aston – and then five minutes later as Spedding managed to slip out a pass to prolific winger Lo, who jinked through for a try converted by Simon Brown.

Barrow were not helped by some uncharacteristic handling errors and missed tackles, but they did manage to get on the scoreboard when Carter returned to the field, with Ryan Fieldhouse setting Jono Smith on a charge before he sent Litherland over in the corner for an unconverted try.

The Raiders had further opportunities before the hooter sounded for half time, but were once again let down by handling errors.

Whatever Barrow head coach Paul Crarey said at half time had the desired effect though and the fightback began just two minutes after the restart as Dan Toal forced his way over for a try which was converted by Carter.

The gap was closed to within two points on 51 minutes when Dean Parata sent Ryan Duffy rumbling over from close range for another converted try, and then the Raiders edged ahead when a move involving Ryan Fieldhouse and Hulme was finished by winger Toal.

The Scotland international’s second try was all of his own making, scooping a loose ball up just inside his own half and then racing away to finish behind the sticks, giving Carter a simple conversion.

Barrow were now firmly in the ascendancy and Joe Bullock was next to score, bursting through after taking a pass from second row Morrow, with Hulme and Toal combining again for the winger to complete his haul five minutes from time.

Lo got his second for the Eagles with the last play of the game, but this was once again Barrow’s day as the unbeaten home run went on.

Barrow Raiders: Luke Cresswell; Shane Toal, Declan Hulme, Andy Litherland, Brett Carter; Ryan Fieldhouse, Dean Parata; Joe Bullock, Karl Ashall, Tom Walker, Jono Smith, Danny Morrow, Alec Susino. Interchange: Nathan Mossop, Glenn Riley, Dan Toal, Ryan Duffy.

Sheffield Eagles: Ryan Millar; Garry Lo, Josh Toole, Jack Spedding, Ben Blackmore; Cory Aston, Simon Brown; Matt James, Matty Fozard, Jon Magrin, James Bentley, Oliver Davies, Jack Ashworth. Greg Burns, Mark Offerdahl, Oscar Thomas, Shaun Pick.

Referee: Marcus Griffiths.