Ian Rigg reports from Craven Park
The new look Lions got their season under way in the winter sunshine of Barrow who are a team fancied by many to be awarded a Super League Licence and they have been splashing the cash again over the winter bringing in Mark Gleeson and Jamie Thackray as well as being currently linked with many more big names and they have brought in Garry Schofield to try and coach the side to success. New Lions coach Steve McCormack named a strong side which included eight new signings and they played some very good rugby and scored some good tries but the Raiders snatched victory with only four minutes to go. Both sides also suffered injury blows before and during the game with the Lions losing Richie Hawkyard to a hamstring injury in the warm up and the Raiders lost scrum half James Coyle with what looked like a bad knee injury during the first half.
Raiders took the lead in the sixth minute when Michael Knowles made a break down the right and Liam Campbell was in support to take the pass and race away to score by the posts and Andy Ballard added the simple conversion. Four minutes later they were in again this time when James Nixon went in at the left corner after he was set up by Martin Ostler but Ballard could not convert from the touchline. Ian Mort almost got in for a debut try on fourteen minutes after Phil Joseph went close but the Raiders defence held out.
The Lions scored their first try seven minutes later when Martin Ainscough who was causing lots of problems for the Raiders defence sent out a pass for Carl Forber to race over on the left and Mort added the conversion points. Raiders hit back virtually from the re start when Liam Harrison sent out a nice short pass for Campbell to add his second try and Ballard again converted. It looked all on that Harrison would add another Raiders try on the half hour when he came steaming onto a Nathan Mossop pass at full speed but Mort brought off a super tackle to hold him short of the line. Richard Fletcher then had a try cancelled out by referee Peter Brooke for a forward pass in the build up. The Lions then added their second try four minutes from the break when Martin Ainscough floated a kick towards the right wing and Gavin Dodd patted the kick backwards for Joseph to collect and race over to the right of the posts and again Mort converted.
The Lions took the lead three minutes into the second half when Mort went close and from the play the ball new boy Karl Ashall dummied the Raiders defence to go over by the posts and Mort converted. The home side hit back on fifty minutes when Fletcher slipped a loose tackle to go over on the left but Ballard could not convert.
Martin Ainscough scored a classic poachers try on sixty-two minutes when he intercepted a loose Campbell pass to race half the length of the field and score under the posts with Mort converting and then six minutes later they further increased their lead when Mark Smith went close and the ball moved quickly to the left with Dean Thompson crashing over near the corner but Mort could not convert this one. The Raiders hit back on seventy-one minutes when Mossop went in by the posts from short range but somehow Ballard managed to miss the conversion and the Lions held a four point lead , but with four minutes left Ballard turned provider when he put a bomb kick over to the right side of the field and Chris Larkin was first to react to the loose ball and he went over for the deciding try and Knowles added the conversion points to steal the victory.
Subs (All Used)
Tries : Campbell (3,23), Nixon (6), Fletcher (50)
Mossop (71), Larkin (76).
Goals : Ballard 2/5
Subs (All Used except Hawkyard)
Tries : Forber (21), Joseph (36), Ashall (43),
M.Ainscough (62), Thompson (68).
Goals : Mort 4/5
Men of Match
Raiders : Liam Campbell
Lions : Mike Morrison
Prog Score : 6-0,10-0,10-6,16-6,16-12,16-18,20-18,20-24,20-28,24-28,30-28.
Ref : Peter Brooke
Att : 957
Pens : 10-5
H-T : 16-12
After the game Steve McCormack had this to say :-
Pleased and disappointed in a way really I think if on paper if you look at the massive gap between the two teams and they have just put in a Super League Licence bid and a tipped to do well in the championship against a team who finished bottom four last year but it was a brilliant effort from us today and I though we worked well and probably should have won the game really but they held their composure at the end just to edge it.
We were slow starting and they got an early lead and a period of about ten minutes in the second half when they took control but apart from that I am very pleased. We have some threats in our side now and more players to come in yet obviously we have more work to do but very pleased with the team effort and it was a good run out for both sides and we got better and better as the game went on but we still have lots of work to do before the start of the season.
Edited by RIGGY, 09 January 2011 - 07:57 PM.