A lot of hype off the field heading into 2019, but sadly, it proved to be too much talk and not enough action as Barrow Raiders were consigned to return to Betfred League 1 in 2020.
The capture of former international Gareth Hock proved to be a real eye-opener but dogged by injuries and off-field issues saw, not only the legend forced to retire, but restrict the Raiders’ movements on bring in replacements.
This ultimately culminated in them suffering some heavy defeats, too many to mount a recovery as they were condemned along with the Hornets.
Will they be back? Can they ever help established Marwan Koukash’s dream of expanding our beloved sport up in Cumbria?!
Only time will tell as we look back at how their season unfolded.
Best Result: Featherstone Rovers 16-38 Barrow Raiders
Despite such a dismal season, Barrow did manage to record some rather impressive results, the pick of which has to be their comprehensive away win against eventual play-off side Featherstone Rovers.
The home side have knocked on the door to the Super League for almost a decade, but on this afternoon, the Raiders had other ideas as they completely stunned all with a seven-try hammering at the LD Nutrition stadium.
Luke Cresswell’s late hat-trick of tries late on was the pick of the highlights, adding to tries already scored by Jamie Dallimore and Danny Morrow as well as Stargroth Amean’s brace.
All Featherstone could do was respond with scores through Dane Chisholm and two from Alex Sutcliffe as the Raiders journeyed back up North worthy winners.
A demonstration of what they can be capable of on the day, stunning ‘Fev’ who managed to record wins over Widnes and Halifax before and after the defeat.
Though Barrow were unable to replicate such a performance for the remainder of 2019, perhaps it should give them a glimmer that returning to the Championship is not all that impossible.
Worst Result: York City Knights 56-0 Barrow Raiders
Unfortunately, they sustained some thrashings along the way back to League 1, the pick of them being their 56-0 thumping away at newly promoted York City Knights.
True, York have had a fantastic season, finishing in third place to have the right to contest promotion to the Betfred Super League.
However, such a heavy defeat for Barrow could be considered a huge shock considering their rather encouraging start to the season before sustaining such a cruel reality check.
Connor Robinson starred for the hosts with two tries and ten goals.
This added to further tries from Dave Petersen, Liam Salter plus a brace of tries from Joe Batchelor and a hat-trick from Jason Bass.
York have been quality but is that an excuse for Barrow, trounced by another part-time team like themselves?!
Certainly not a fine hour for Paul Crarey’s outfit as so early in the season, perhaps the first stepping stone towards their eventual downfall?!
Main man: Stargroth Amean
Their main man of 2019 has to be Papua New Guinea international Stargroth Amean. The 28-year-old signed from down under this season, boasted almost as much as Hock and somewhat, did live up to the hype.
Amean has scored several tries this season and has proved popular with the Barrow supporters.
Decent stuff from the Kumul as he came over with a point to prove as at club level, he has only represented Papua New Guinea Hunters in the Intrust Super Cup.
Though life with the Cumbrian side could have turned out better, life in League 1 may see him and the club come back better than ever!
Predicted 10th – Finished: 13th
Not living up to expectation unfortunately as they return to League 1 after two seasons in the Betfred Championship.
Last season saw them start well, and to a certain extent, have made their ground of Craven Park a tough place to come to in the competition.
However, last season saw them only claim three wins and a draw up North which ultimately could not save them this time around.
It might be back to the drawing board but the dream of growing the sport in Cumbria may still come to light one day, right?!