REPORT: Barrow Raiders 38-32 North Wales Crusaders

NORTH WALES CRUSADERS left Bloomfield Road with mixed emotions following a nail biting 38-32 defeat in the League 1 Cup final at the hands of Barrow Raiders.

In a game where the lead exchanged hands on numerous occasions, the Crusaders pushed their Cumbrian counterparts – who sit second in the league – all the way, before Barrow clinched the game at the death.

The Raiders had taken an early lead as they opened the scoring with just three minutes gone. Nathan Mossop drove over the line and managed to ground the ball despite efforts from the Crusaders defence to hold him up.

Minutes later Barrow came close to doubling their lead as a grubber kick rolled into the in goal area, only to roll dead before the chasing Raiders players could get a hand to it.

Having not seen much of the ball for the first ten minutes, the Crusaders then managed to respond. After a penalty put them in a good position to attack from, Jack Houghton powered his way over the whitewash from close range to level the scores at 6-6.

Barrow then passed up on an opportunity to retake the lead as former Crusader, Jamie Dallimore, chipped into the corner, but Corey Lee did well to gather the ball, conceding a goal-line-drop-out in the process.

With just over 20 minutes gone, the Crusaders took the lead for the first time in the game. As Barrow attacked the Welsh side’s line, Dale Bloomfield intercepted a pass before running the length of the field to score, putting Crusaders 12-6 up.

However, Barrow hit back as a well worked kick from Dallimore bounced favourably for Luke Cresswell who gathered the ball and levelled the scores.

In the final moments of the first-half, Barrow scored two quick-fire tries. First, Declan Hulme was sent over in the corner, before another chip from Dallimore was collected by Daniel Morrow who crossed to make it 20-12 going into the break.

With the next try vital, it was the Crusaders who opened the second-half scoring through Jack Hansen, who spotted a gap in the Raiders defence which he ran through to score.

The Wrexham based side then retook the lead as Callum Mulkeen ran straight through the Barrow defence before crashing over the line to give the Crusaders a four point advantage.

With 57 minutes on the clock, Ryan Smith crossed the whitewash to further extend the lead. After sending the Barrow defence the wrong way, Smith ran through the gap which he’d created and grounded the ball.

Despite some valiant efforts in defence, the Crusaders couldn’t keep Barrow out much longer as Shan Toal powered down the wing before finishing well in the corner.

With just over ten minutes remaining, Barrow levelled the scores through Joe Bullock. After taking the ball, Bullock powered his way through the Crusaders’ defensive to score.

After both sides converted penalties, the scores remained level, setting up a tense final ten minutes.

But with three minutes remaining, Barrow sealed a dramatic victory through Daniel Morrow, who charged over the line to score his second of the afternoon, and win the cup for Barrow.

Barrow Raiders:

1 Ryan Fieldhouse

5 Shane Toal

3 Declan Hulme

45 Thomas Lomax

24 Luke Cresswell

6 Jamie Dallimore

7 Lewis Charnock

8 Joe Bullock

9 Nathan Mossop

10 Oliver Wilkes

18 Daniel Morrow

11 Daniel Toal

13 Martin Aspinwall

Subs;

14 Dabiel Abram

17 Thomas Walker

21 James Duerden

16 Andrew Dawson

Tries: Moss (3), Cresswell (28), Hulme (36), Morrow (39, 77), Toal (66), Bullock (69)

Goals: Charlock (2/5), Dallimore (2/2)

Pen: Dallimore (1/1)

North Wales Crusaders:

1 Tommy Johnson

2 Corey Lee

11 Alex Thompson

28 Callum Mulkeen

5 Dale Bloomfield

26 Jack Hansen

7 Ryan Smith

8 Jonny Walker

14 James Dandy

10 Alex Davidson

17 Kenny Baker

24 Jack Houghton

16 Luke Warburton

Subs;

27 Aaron Moore

19 Daniel Price

20 Andy Unsworrth

31 Blake Turner

Tries: Houghton (11), Bloomfield (20), Hansen (45), Mulkeen (55), Smith (57)

Goals: Johnson (5/5)

Pen: Johnson (1/1)

Half-Time: 20-12

Man Of The Match: Ryan Smith

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