Barrow Raiders book place in Challenge Cup Fifth Round
Barrow Raiders 28 Sheffield Eagles 16 (Challenge Cup fourth round)
BARROW Raiders marched into the Challenge Cup Fifth Round at the expense of Sheffield Eagles in a game overshadowed by a head injury to prop Joe Bullock.
Victory celebrations were marred as concern mounted for the player who received treatment on the field for 12 minutes before being carried off on a stretcher, following a challenge.
An ambulance arrived moments after full time, driving up to the players’ entrance to transport the player to hospital for further checks with Raiders coach Paul Crarey was due to visit later.
Up to that point Barrow, apart from the odd intervention, seemed largely to be in control against a side who, although looking lively enough were let down by handling errors at the sharp end.
Barrow made several field changes for the game with Ryan Fieldhouse switching from fullback to stand-off and Dean Parata slotting in at scrum half.
Luke Cresswell moved to fullback while centre Andy Litherland and forward Jono Smith made welcome returns. Smith had been out for five weeks after suffering two bouts of tonsillitis, while Litherland has overcome a sternum injury and illness.
Both Cresswell and Fieldhouse produced strong performances, with the latter scoring a try and having a hand in three others.
New signing Gene Ormsby also touched down with other scores coming from Bullock, Jarrad Stack, and Andy Litherland with Brett Carter kicking four first half goals.
Tries for the visitors were scored by Matty Fozard, Iliess Macani and Ryan Millar with Oscar Thomas and Simon Brown kicking conversions.
Although Sheffield started the brighter, and indeed levelled at 6-6 soon after Barrow had gone ahead, the Raiders went into the interval leading 24-6 after controlling much of the half.
Fieldhouse set the pace putting his side ahead courtesy of a Bullock pass and soon the compliment was returned when Bullock accelerated past a static Sheffield defence to score close to the sticks.
Fieldhouse was in the thick of the action again, this time when his crossfield kick was plucked out of the air by Stack, who crashed over.
With Parata dictating play with some astute kicking it was only a matter of time before the Barrow lead was extended and that arrived when new signing Ormsby exploited a gap and Brett Carter kicked his fourth conversion of the half.
Both teams began in lively fashion after the break and had it not been for a litany of handling errors from the visitors, they could have closed the gap before eventually doing so when, on the back of a string of penalties, Macani slipped through the Barrow defensive wall to score.
Order was quickly restored as immense pressure on the Sheffield line resulted in Fieldhouse finding Andy Litherland, who, with a delicious show and go, evaded the visiting defence to slide through.
But soon after the injury to Bullock, Sheffield scored again through Millar.
Sheffield head to Barrow for the Betfred Championship next week with the visitors likely to reinforce their side with dual reg players for what is set to be an exciting encounter.
Before that for Barrow, there is a matter of the Fifth Round draw on Tuesday when they will hope to pick up a home draw and Super League opposition.
BARROW RAIDERS: Luke Cresswell, Shane Toal, Gene Ormsby, Andy Litherland, Brett Carter, Ryan Fieldhouse, Dean Parata, Joe Bullock, Karl Ashall, Tom Walker, Jono Smith, Jarrad Stack, Alec Susino. Subs (all used): Nathan Mossop, Dan Toal, Glenn Riley, Ryan Duffy.
SHEFFIELD EAGLES: Ryan Millar, Iliess Macani, Daniel Igbinedion, Joshua Toole, Ben Blackmore, Mark Offerdahl, Matthew Fozard, Shaun Pick, Matthew James, Oliver Davies, Kieran Moran. Subs (all used): Gregory Burns, Nabil Djalout, Ben Morris, Johathan Magrin.
Referee: Brandon Robinson.