It was derby day delight for Jonty Gorley’s Whitehaven as they secured the spoils in a tight encounter against Cumbrian rivals Barrow marred by crowd disturbance around the hour mark which saw police called to the stadium.

The game started as a typical derby encounter, with both sides neither wanting to risk too much in the early stages. Both had an opportunity to get the game’s opening score but lost the ball close to the line. Whitehaven’s Guy Graham was the first to knock on and was followed only minutes later by Barrow’s Rio Corkill.

The momentum swung in the favour of the home side following two goal-line drop outs following kicks from the Raiders knocked dead, firstly by Sam Freeman and Alex Bishop. The home side looked to continue to batter the Haven line but couldn’t find the opening score.

Barrow found themselves down to 12 men just after the opening quarter. Jack Wells was the man sent to the sin bin for striking after lashing out at Whitehaven’s Guy Graham.

The visitors were able to take full advantage and scored two tries, the first of which came from Ryan King who powered through a gap on right edge of Barrow’s defence. King scoring his first try following his recent return to the club from Halifax having been Haven’s leading try scorer in 2022.

Just after the half-hour mark Haven grabbed their second through Curtis Teare. A perfectly weighted kick along the floor to the corner from the returning Alex Bishop was jumped on by Teare. Sam Freeman slipped on both conversion attempts with both attempts falling short.

That was nearly the last action of the game for the Haven full back as he soon limped off with a knee injury not to return following the loss of Marcus O’Brien – while the scores were still level – with the same issue.

As Freeman left the field Haven were caught out with no full back and it meant Dave Eccleston was left to fend the high hanging kick from Jarrod Sammut. Eccleston couldn’t make the space up fast enough and as the ball bounced it was collected by Ryan Johnston who did enough to score. Sammut converted to reduce the half-time deficit to just two points.

The deficit was wiped out just after the half-time break as Jarrod Sammut slotted over a penalty after Haven were penalised for offside.

The scores didn’t stay level for long as Whitehaven broke the line through opening try scorer Ryan King. King found Josh Rourke on his right-hand shoulder. Rourke, deputising in the full back berth following the loss of Freeman, was tackled only metres short of the try line. However only a few moments later the ball was swung right and Papua New Guinean Dion Aiye crashed over. Rourke converted with his first effort of the match.

But the Raiders weren’t down and out and levelled the scores only minutes later through captain Jarrad Stack. A kick to the corner was knocked backwards by former Haven winger Andrew Bulman and bounced into the hands of Stack who couldn’t be stopped from short range. Sammut converted and it was all square once again.

The match was then stopped following crowd disturbances which saw spectators clash with stewards and police called to deal with the situation. The game got back underway following a delay of around 10 minutes. The stoppage didn’t seem to help either side and the following few sets for both sides were scrappy.

The game was eventually decided on two penalty goals. Whitehaven were awarded a penalty after Alex Bishop was tackled without the ball after putting a kick in towards the corner. Rourke was able to convert the penalty goal, giving Haven the slenderest of leads.

However that was all that was needed despite Jarrod Sammut having an opportunity in the final minutes to level the scores after a high tackle on Danny Langtree.

The Maltese international put his attempt across the face of the posts and Whitehaven hung on to secure their first victory in Barrow since 2014.



24 Luke Broadbent, 27 Andrew Bulman, 4 Greg Worthington, 3 Rio Corkill, 2 Shane Toal, 6 Jarrod Sammut, 7 Ryan Johnston, 15 Ellis Gillam, 22 Josh Wood, 10 Anton Iaria, 11 Danny Langtree, 12 Jarrad Stack, 13 Jack Wells. Subs: 14 Jake Carter, 16 Sam Brooks, 20 Ben Evans, 8 Greg Burke.

Tries: Johnston (36), Stack (57).

Goals: Sammut 3/4.

Sin Bin: Jack Wells (22nd minute) – Striking.


1 Sam Freeman, 2 Dave Eccleston, 23 Josh Rourke, 6 Karl Dixon, 4 Curtis Teare, 14 Jamie Doran, 7 Alex Bishop, 22 Lucas Castle, 21 Marcus O’Brien, 16 Lasarusa Tabu, 12 Lachlan Lanskey, 19 Ryan King, 17 Guy Graham. Subs: 10 Tom Walker, 13 Dion Aiye, 15 James Newton, 18 Perry Singleton.

Tries: King (26), Teare (32), Aiye (51).

Goals: Freeman 0/2, Rourke 2/2.

Penalty count: 5-8.

Half-time: 6-8.

Referee: Cameron Worsley.

Attendance: 3,136.