Johnston’s polish rubs away Batley threat
Barrow Raiders 20 Batley Bulldogs 18
RYAN Johnston will not forget his first Betfred Championship try in a hurry.
As the clock ticked towards the final hooter Barrow Raiders looked as though they were staring at a narrow defeat in the face against visiting Batley Bulldogs.
It needed a Barrow spark to ignite those desperate final moments, and Johnston provided just that as he clutched on to a pass and, in a scintillating turn of pace, left Batley’s defence grasping at fresh air until he was hauled down.
That tackle was too late for by then the half back had dived over the line to bring the scores level at 18-18, and Jamie Dallimore showed the nerve to slot over his fourth goal of the game and in doing so helped Barrow pick up to valuable Betfred Championship points.
Up to that thrilling finale the game was dangling by a thread as the lead was exchanged throughout.
Joe Bullock was at his explosive best and his superb individual effort lit up an error strewn first half and helped Barrow regain the lead in this tough challenge against against a side who had defeated them 32-12 earlier in this campaign.
In an opening 40 minutes mostly remembered for failing to find that killer touch when deep in enemy territory it needed something to lift the clash and Bullock provided just.
In a move started by a telling Gene Ormsby break the ball was switched by Dean Parata to the big forward who did the rest 60m out, trampling though Batley’s exasperated defence to score close to the posts.
Barrow began the encounter brightly with winger Shane Toal going close until a forward pass was ruled, and didn’t have to wait long before sneaking ahead with Dallimore kicking a penalty, the first of four successful attempts after Alec Susino had been impeded 20 metres out.
That lead lasted just three minutes when the dangerous Dominic Brambani slid through, and fullback David Scott gleefully accepted his pass to score with Patch Walker adding the conversion.
Barrow had thought they had regained the lead before Bullock’s tremendous effort when Danny Morrow, on for the injured Declan Hulme, went over only for a forward pass to be ruled.
The game tilted once again in Batley’s favour with Brambani driving through from close range after the visitors had won a penalty close to the Raiders line, and Walker added the kick to go into the interval 12-8 ahead.
Barrow regained the lead in the 50 minute with a peach of a try which began through the silky skills of Dallimore and an explosive run from Bullock, culminating when Parata sliced through to score under the sticks with Dallimore adding the extras.
Sloppy Barrow defence allowed Batley to strike back in the 57th minute with Alistair Leak scrambling over and Walker on target.
The breakthrough eventually came two minutes from time when the ball fell former Furness Raiders under-19s player Johnston, who finished off in style.
Barrow have some player worries ahead of their rearranged game against visiting Dewsbury Rams on Sunday, and coach Paul Crarey will assess the injury list in training later this week.
There are concerns for Declan Hulme, who may have a fractured eye socket and for Glenn Riley.
BARROW RAIDERS: Ryan Fieldhouse, Gene Ormsby, Declan Hulme, Andy Litherland, Shane Toal, Jamie Dallimore, Ryan Johnston, Joe Bullock, Nathan Mossop, Alec Susino, Jono Smith, Jarrad Stack, Martin Aspinwall. Subs (all used): Danny Morrow, Dean Parata, Glenn Riley, Bradd Crellin.
BATLEY BULLDOGS: David Scott, Shaun Ainscough, Daniel Cowling, Lewis Galbraith, Keenen Tomlinson, Patrick Walker, Dominic Brambani, Adam Geldhill, Alistair Leak, Alex Rowe, James Harrison, Bradley Day, Dane Manning. Subs (all used): Michael Ward, James Davey, Joseph Chandler, Alex Bretherton.
Referee: Marcus Griffiths.