Barrow Raiders have enjoyed a fairytale season. Promoted into the Championship last season, the Raiders defied the odds and defied the so called experts to make the play-offs.
In fact their win last week coupled with Batley’s defeat saw them claim fourth spot – a remarkable achievement in itself – which flipped today’s fixture on its head giving them home advantage against the Bulldogs.
However, despite having attacking weapons like rumoured St Helens target Tee Ritson, former Hull FC centre Hakim Miloudi and maverick Jarrod Sammutt, the fear was always going to be that the Bulldogs’ play-off experience would see them edge it as they did against Bradford at this stage last year.
The prize on offer clearly affected proceedings early with both dreaming of a semi-final and another step closer to Super League resulting in a tight start to the came with both sides missing chances prompting Barrow to have a shot at goal which they missed after a high tackle.
However, the second time this opportunity came the Raiders’ way after a penalty for offside, Ryan Shaw nailed it to make it 2-0.
After falling behind, Batley sparked into life with a try from a scrum as rumoured Leeds Rhinos target Luke Hooley producing a long ball that put Jonny Campbell over on the stroke of halftime.
Following a tight start to the game, Batley prompted things to open up a touch with a lovely passing move down the middle of the field which was finished off by hooker Alistair Leak under the sticks.
This sparked the Raiders into life and they built plenty of pressure in a bid to save their season. The Bulldogs held them out well until a short ball set up Ellis Gillam to give the Raiders hope of turning things around as they made it 8-12.
Game back on but it would soon be game over when a Leak try led to the floods of defeat for the Raiders. This try came when Jimmy Meadows darted forward on the last before his offload teed Leak up for the decisive try as that was the final score of the game with the Bulldogs claiming an 18-8 win to progress to the semi-finals yet again.
They’re likely to meet league leaders Leigh away next week unless York shock Halifax later today.