Gritty Barrow Raiders draw with Toronto Wolfpack
BARROW RAIDERS 8 TORONTO WOLFPACK 8
ALL 17 Barrow Raiders players can hold their hold their heads with pride after earning a draw with full-time outfit Toronto Wolfpack at the JF Hornby Stadium on Sunday.
There were heroes in every position as they all produced solid performances and put a huge dent in the aspirations of the Canadian outfit.
After defeating Leigh Centurions 34-12 in the Betfred Championship opener last week, Toronto must have been expecting a stroll in the park.
But they probably didn’t take into consideration the grit and determination of a committed Raiders who came close to upsetting the odds late in the game on several occasions.
Fans betting on a draw would have been given odds of 55/1 such was the confidence of the outcome by the bookies.
But in a game of ifs and maybes it was a superb, stupendous and scintillating Barrow who ensured the Wolfpack left Cumbria with their tails between their legs.
In a clash splattered by snow in the early stages and played out in heavy conditions, it was Barrow who refused to allow their more illustrious visitors to settle any time in the game.
The Wolfpack, littered with ex Super League and former NRL players, simply could not deal with the Raiders who pounced on their every error.
Even when the visitors went 8-2 ahead through two unconverted tries there was always the hope of a comeback and – so it proved.
When Dan Toal won the race to score Barrow’s first try against the Canadian club fans lifted the roof off the Popular Side.
If Barrow had enjoyed further success in a largely dominant final 10 minutes of the game it would have been a result that would have been talked about in the pubs and clubs long after the game was over.
In a tight opening 40 minutes battling Barrow showed plenty of Cumbrian grit to limit the visitors to a 4-2 lead and that was after the Raiders had gone ahead with a Jamie Dallimore penalty.
The Raiders had little time to rest on their laurels after taking the lead and a 40/20 struck by half-back Ryan Brierley put Toronto back in the hunt.
A surge forward saw Andrew Dixon barge over for an unconverted try.
Toronto’s aggressive defence brought some gasps from the supporters and moments before the interval Glenn Riley was on the receiving end a huge tackle from Andrew Ackers which later resulted in a brief melee between the sides before peace was restored.
The visitors then caught Barrow cold soon after the restart when Samoan international fullback Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e fed Nick Rawsthorne close to the line with the centre sliding through for another unconverted try.
Barrow staged a spirited fightback and when the Toronto defence failed to hold Riley, Dallimore was on hand to collect and send a kick towards the line with Dan Toal winning the race to score.
After putting their first point in the Championship bag against a team fancied for promotion, Barrow have another tough challenge on their hands on Sunday when Leigh head to town.
If you missed the Raiders this time, make sure you arrive early as Paul Crarey’s side look to upset the odds once again.
BARROW RAIDERS: Ryan Fieldhouse, Brett Carter, Declan Hulme, Thomas Loxam, Shane Toal, Jamie Dallimore, Karl Ashall, Joe Bullock, Dean Parata, Alec Susino, Jarrad Stack, Jono Smith, Martin Aspinwall. Subs: Nathan Mossop, Tom Walker, Glenn Riley, Dan Toal.
TORONTO WOLFPACK: Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e, Liam Kay, Greg Worthington, Nick Rawsthorne, Adam Higson, Joshua McCrone, Ryan Brierley, Jack Buchanan, Bob Beswick, Jack Bussey, Andrew Dixon, Richard Whiting, Jacob Emmitt. Subs: Andy Ackers, Olsi Krasniqi, Adam Sidlow, Blake Williams.
Referee: Gareth Hewer.