Barrow Raiders Match Report by Joshua Chapman (@Chapalar)
After a long hard season, the Cougars travelled up to Cumbria for the third time in as many weeks as they took on the Barrow Raiders in one of the three Kingstone Press Championship Survival Sunday fixtures.
Following the defeat to Halifax ten days previous, Paul March made changes to the Cougars line up in a bid to secure victory and survival. Paul himself dropped to the interchanges with Sean Kelly missing out on the seventeen. Other changes saw the Sheriffe brothers, Jesse and Jode, both also drop out off the seventeen to be replaced by Elliott Cosgrove and Scott Law. The place Judge left on the interchanges was taken by youngster Ryan Patchett.
The Cougars couldn’t off asked for a better start as from their first set off the game, Danny Jones, who has been called to the Wales squad for the World Cup this autumn, kicked a lovely 40/20 to win the visitors an early scrum. From the scrum, Craig Moss took on the Raiders defence but was halted by a fantastic last ditch tackle by Aaron Low. Scott Leatherbarrow’s kick was well collected by Adam Clay to get the Raiders hands on the ball for the first time.
The Raiders then found themselves with the early lead when following a lapse in the Cougars defensive line Dan Toal collected a Danny Jones offload to race through the line before sending a pass into the hands off Nathan Mossop who went over the line for the Raiders opener. Kurt Haggerty then put the conversion over to take the lead to six points.
The strong Cumbrian wind was proving a problem for both sides with possession being exchanged on a regular basis before Jack Spencer was halted on the line before Sean Casey kicked into touch and from the resulting set sloppy play by the Batley bound duo of Joe Chandler and Scott Leatherbarrow allowed the Raiders to regain possession with Liam Harrison.
Scott Leatherbarrow sent a wild kick into the hands off Adam Clay, with the Raiders winger racing the full length off the pitch before avoiding the chasing back Richie Barnett and Craig Moss before going over the line to touch down. Kurt Haggerty then missed the conversion to keep the gap at ten points between the two sides.
From the kick off there was a bizarre scene when the ball whilst coming down almost was collected by a seagull flying over the Craven Park pitch with Danny Jones then taking a well weighted kick down field from Sean Casey before winning the Cougars a scrum.
And from the resulting play, a bizarre run of penalty after penalty in the Cougars favour from the match official angered the home support but allowed Brendon Rawlins to race over the line to get the Cougars on the board for the first time in the afternoon. Scott Leatherbarrow added the extras to close the gap to four points.
The Cougars then spent the next five minutes absorbing a huge amount of Raiders pressure on the line with before after holding out Liam Harrison and Max Wiper, a penalty to Barrow allowed a kick from Liam Campbell with Aaron Low flicking back in the air to the hands off Max Wiper who raced underneath the sticks. Haggerty added the extras to reopen the ten point gap.
From the restart, a sloppy Raiders error allowed the Cougars to get straight back in the game. Some clever passing play between the visitors attack saw Danny Jones send a ball sailing over to Elliott Cosgrove who crossed in the corner with Leatherbarrow missing the conversion. The half then came to a close following a kick by Danny Jones to Aaron Low.
The second half was a sloppy, stop start affair with limited chances for both sides. After a 40/20 attempt from Danny Jones and a big hit on Sean Hesketh by Brad Brennan, Kurt Haggerty was penalised for showing Danny Jones too much attention but following a ball spill, the Cougars were penalised for a high tackle with Haggerty kicking the two to open up an eight point gap.
A knockonathon with plenty of penalties to slow the game down proved to be the difference between the sides and after knock ons by Richie Barnett and Joe Chandler the game was brought to life by Andy Shickell who dropped Liam Harrison with a monster of a hit with some sloppy defensive play allowing Mossop to race unchallenged underneath the sticks to grab his second and secure the Raiders the three points following a Haggerty conversion.
A well chased Scott Leatherbarrow kick allowed the Cougars an attacking position from which they scored as Oliver Pursglove raced over to complete a passing move from Ben Sagar and Craig Moss before Scott Leatherbarrow sliced the conversion, nearly hitting the Tesco to the side off the ground in the process with the wayward effort.
Paul March then had a try ruled out underneath the posts after the touch judge had ruled Brendon Rawlins had sent out a forward pass despite facing his own sticks to the dismay of the healthy travelling support. Daley Williams was then caught from a fantastic Raiders kick and chase with the game being brought to an end to signal survival for both the Cougars and Raiders.
Yorkshire Times Man of the Match – Brendon Rawlins – The Aussie Loose Forward was phenomenal throughout the defeat, putting in a massive shift from the pack. He was running the ball freely, throwing in some huge tackles and even grabbing himself the Cougars opening try.
Cougars: Moss, Williams, Cosgrove, Chandler, Barnett, Jones, Leatherbarrow, Shickell, Feather, Law, Pursglove, Lynam, Rawlins. Interchanges: Hesketh, March, Sagar, Patchett
Raiders: Campbell, Low, Wiper, McGilvray, Clay, Nicholson, Casey, Spencer, Mossop, Jones, Harrison, Haggerty, Toal. Interchanges: Brennan, Dandy, Dawson, Whitehead.