The Summer Bash weekend curtain raiser was an eighth against tenth encounter between the Barrow Raiders and the Sheffield Eagles as Bloomfield Road in Blackpool filled with the colours of the Betfred Championship for the opening day.
Both sides are amongst this seasons strugglers although the Raiders have taken some major scalps following their promotion alongside Toronto Wolfpack at the end of last season.
Cory Aston, on loan from the Castleford Tigers, scored the opener after five minutes when he took an Ashworth pass to outpace the Raiders defence to go over. He added the extras for a 6-0 lead.
Sheffield added another two thanks to an Aston penalty on eleven, the Eagles had come into the game with a real purpose.
On thirty minutes Barrow Raiders got themselves right back in the game when Shane Toal grounded a grubber kick to the corner just before sliding dead in goal. Dallimore added the conversion and the Raiders were back within two.
On thirty-five Jarrad Stack backed over the line from close range, getting the benefit of the doubt from the video referee. Dallimore added the extras and after being distinctly second best in the opening twenty minutes it was the Raiders who took a 12-8 lead into the interval.
Tempers frayed on the half-time hooter but the referee sent both sides into the sheds to consider the error of their ways with no further action taken
Aston opened the second halvf scoring, a fortunate collect off the crossbar froma perfectly judged Corey Makelim kick through. Aston again goaled to edge his side back into the lead.
Two minutes later Menzie Yere found a big gap in the Raiders defence to go over from ten metres. Aston was unable to convert the try, the Eagles now six points ahead.
On fifty-five Josh Toole extended the Eagles lead after Joe Bullock had lost the ball in the tackle on his own thirty. Aston put in the final pass for the loose forward to go over. Aston slid his kick across the uprights.
Aston completed his hat-trick on fifty-seven when the Eagles manufactured space out left and he threw the dummy to Dallimore before crossing. This time he hit the for upright with the conversion attempt.
On sixty-five an Aston kick was collected by Barrow but lost on the carry back into the field of play from the goal area and Jake Spedding was on hand to touch down the loose ball. Aston added the goal to bring his personal tally to twenty.
Jamie Dallimore lunged for the line on seventy after spinning out of a tackle to ground on the line. When he added the extras it was 18-32 with nine minutes remaining.
A chip and collect from Dallimore saw him put in a second chip over the top for the ball to be collected by Gene Ormsby to juggle and ground. Dallimore was unable to add the conversion but the deficit was down to ten with seven minutes remaining.
On seventy-six Makelim added his name to the Eagles scorers list going through a big gap in the tired Barrow defence after throwing a dummy. Oscar Thomas added the extras for a final score of 38-22
Despite a brave fightback from Barrow in the first half, enough to snatch the lead, and a spirited end to the game the Eagles were totally dominant for the majority of the game with flair in attack, and strength in defence. Cory Aston bossed the middle of the field and was the Raiders worse nightmare with ball in hand. The Eagles go above Dewsbury into ninth with two more points crucial for their Championship survival.
Raiders: Ormsby (T), Stack (T), Fieldhouse, Carter, Toal S (T), Hulme, Carter, Dallimore (T 3G), Bullock, Mossop, Aspinwall, Ashall, Toal D, Smith . Subs: Parate, While, Riley, Duffy.
Eagles: McCostello, Millar, Yere (T), Spedding (T), Blackmore, Aston (3T, 4G), Makelim (T), Offerdahl, Fozard, Magrin, Ashworth, Pick, Toole (T). Subs: Thomas (G), Davies, Weldon, Lees.
Referee: Liam Staveley.