Whitehaven 2 Barrow Raiders 15

Barrow gained revenge for their defeat at the Recreation Ground two weeks ago with a deserved victory over their Cumbrian rivals.

They dominated possession and territory for long periods and only some superb defending by Whitehaven kept them in the game.

After a blank first half, Haven did get in front with a penalty from Paul Crook but it was Barrow who finished the game much the stronger, scoring the only two tries of the game.

It was also a big bonus for the visitors that they did not concede a try and, like Whitehaven, produced some solid defence when they needed to.

Barrow had two successive sets of six to start the game but lost possession when Oliver Wilkes lost the ball in a strong tackle from Carl Forster.

The first penalty followed a high tackle by Brad Crellin on Elliott Miller and Whitehaven’s response ended when Connor Holliday couldn’t hold Forster’s pass ten yards out.

Barrow then had their first real pressure of the game, forcing a drop-out, a five-metre scrum and forcing Haven to defend their line with great intensity.

The home side eventually got clear without any harm being inflicted and it ended when Crook’s kick was too long and went dead.

Barrow came back quickly and were pressing hard when they dropped the ball in the shadow of the Haven posts. The hosts ended their set with a long kick from Crook which almost produced a 40-20.

Then it was Barrow back on the offensive but more resolute defence from Haven kept them out. But the pressure was mounting and a great run by Nathan Mossop had the home defence split open. Jamie Dallimore followed-up with a kick and Chris Taylor did well under pressure to hold-on.

Barrow thought they had crossed in the corner when Sean Toal took a pass and dived for the line but somehow Jessie Joe Parker got there to knock his flying body into touch.

The first quarter of the game had produced no points but Barrow had the better of possession and territory and it was Whitehaven’s defence which was keeping the hosts in the game.

Whitehaven’s first big effort in attack for some time came on 32 minutes and Crook’s little grubber under the sticks just evaded the first Haven player in pursuit.

Whitehaven had looked livelier in the last ten minutes of the half and should have done better when Carl Olstrom, making a surprise return, broke down the middle and his little pass inside was dropped by Miller with plenty of open field ahead of him.

It was Barrow who were back on the attack in the closing seconds of the half and Miller had to lash the ball dead when Dallimore tried to create a chance from a kick as the hooter sounded.

There was a bizarre start to the second half when Lewis Charnock was hurt kicking-off. The ball fell off the tee as he kicked it.

But Haven put in the first serious attack of the half and took the lead in the second minute. After Miller had been tackled just short, the ball was moved inside and Aiye was stopped illegally under the posts. Cook banged over the penalty.

Back came Haven and Scott McAvoy was close plunging for the line but lost the ball in the process.

Then they forced a drop-out and Miller was again close to getting over but lost the ball in the process.

But it was Barrow who took the lead on 52 minutes and justified coach Paul Crarey’s instructions to run a kickable penalty. They went close through Joe Bullock and Tom Walker before Whitehaven were breached by Jarrad Stack ploughing over near the posts. Dallimore converted for a 6-2 lead.

Whitehaven almost got level within a minute when a clever kick from Crook flashed behind the Barrow posts and Roper just couldn’t grab it.

Barrow were able to extend their lead on 59 minutes when Haven were penalised 20 yards out and Dallimore put over the successful kick.

A minute later, Dallimore put over a drop goal after a great burst by Wilkes had put Haven on the back foot.

When Haven came back with a decent set, the final kick through from Roper went dead and Barrow were able to counter quickly from the 20-metre tap.

The move ended with a kick for the corner which Haven were able to deal with.

But Barrow scored their crucial second try on 68 minutes when the over-worked Haven defence was breached. Ryan Fieldhouse finished-off when the ball was whipped out to him to score ten yards in from touch. Dallimore landed a fine conversion.

Haven tried to hit back but McAvoy was bundled into touch five yards short of the line as Barrow sensed revenge for their defeat a fortnight earlier.

That became virtually a certainty on 72 minutes when Glenn Riley was shown a yellow card after an off-the-ball challenge.

Haven did have one more chance. Forster put in a big charge at the Barrow line, slipped the ball to McAvoy who teed-up Aiye but he was smothered on the line by some strong Barrow tackling.

WHITEHAVEN: Miller, Burns, Taylor, Parker, Thompson, Aiye, Crook, Hand, Tilley, Riley, Holliday, McAvoy, Forster. Subs: Roper, Newton, Olstrom, Holland.

GOAL: Crook

BARROW: Fieldhouse, S. Toal, Hulme, Harper, Carter, Dallimore, Charnock, Bullock, Ashall, Wilkes, Crellin, Stack, Aspinwall. Subs: Mossop, D. Toal, Walker, Duerden.

TRIES: Stack, Fieldhouse. Goals: Dallimore (3). Drop goal: Dallimore.

REFEREE: Gareth Hewer

CROWD: 1,063



STAR MAN: Dion Aiye