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The Toronto Wolfpack band wagon rolled into Cumbria for an encounter with last seasons fellow Championship One promoted side Barrow Raiders at the JF Hornby Stadium.

Both of last seasons games were played in Canada and went the way of Toronto when they handed out a 70-2 drubbing in the first game, but the Raiders gave the Wolfpack a far more competitive game towards the end of the season recording a 26-2 defeat at the Lamport Stadium.

The Wolfpack were looking to maintain their one hundred percent record, with Barrow looking to get their campaign underway after last weeks heavy defeat at the London Broncos.

Wolfpack coach Paul Rowley described the conditions pre-match as a ‘pig fight’ with thick mud underfoot likely to act as a leveller. As the game kicked off the snow started to fall, just to add to the difficulty.

It was a real arm-wrestle in the opening eighteen  minutes but despite steady Wolfpack pressure the Raiders frustrated their visitors and when they were given a penalty which Jamie Dallimore kicked from twenty-five metres for a 2-0 home lead.

On twenty-three the Wolfpack made their superior possession and position pay when Bob Beswick found Andrew Dixon after an Olsi Krasniqi break to get the first four pointer of the afternoon but Brierley missed the conversion attempt leaving his side 4-2 ahead.

A Ryan Brierley 40-20 on thirty minutes should have been the perfect platform for a second try but good Barrow defence forced a knock-on.

The conditions were certainly the winner in the first half with both sides struggling to get out of the mire down the middle and with little opportunity to get the ball out to the wings. The players had suffered snow, hail, driving rain and occasional sunshine in a draining half as they trudged inside for their half time Oxo.

Two minutes into the second half Nick Rawsthorne made a try from nothing after taking a Quentin Laula-Togaga’e pass to go over in the corner. Brierley’s kick didn’t reach the posts into a strong wind for 8-2.

On fifty-five a Dallimore kick was fumbled by Laula-Togaga’e in the Toronto defence and Dan Toal won the race to hack the ball over the line and ground for a crucial try. Dallimore added the extra two to level the scores.

With ten minutes to go it was still anyone’s game. Both sides were struggling to keep hold of the ball and making plenty of mistakes as exhaustion in the heavy conditions took their toll.

On seventy-six Richard Whiting heroically picked the ball of Dallimore’s foot as he attempted a drop goal from twenty-five metres to try and seal a Barrow win. 

The clock ran down with Toronto pushing the Barrow line but the Cumbrians held on for the 8-8 draw, a terrific result for Barrow and a big disappointment for Toronto who came expecting the two points.

This was a real slug fest, played in awful conditions. All credit to Barrow, who’d not managed a single try against Toronto last season, for defending like trojans and grabbing a point from the millionaires. Toronto will be looking forward to better conditions in which their stars can shine, Barrow will look to build upon this point with more successes in the coming rounds.

Raiders: Fieldhouse, Carter, Hulme, Loxam, Toal S, Dallimore (2G), Ashall, Bullock, Parata, Susino, Stark, Smith, Aspinwall. Subs: Mossop, Walker, Riley, Toal D (T).

Wolfpack: Laula-Togaga’e, Higson Worthington, Rawsthorne (T), Kay, McCrone, Brierley, Bussey, Beswick, Buchanan, Emmitt, Dixon (T), Whiting. Subs: Ackers, Sidlow, Wallace, Krasniqi.

Half Time: 2-4.

Full Time: 8-8.

Referee: Gareth Hewer.

Attendance: .

 



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