The second round of the 1895 Cup hit Cumbria, where the Barrow Raiders entertained a very youthful looking Bradford Bulls side, looking to banish thoughts of their Challenge Cup exit at the hands of Halifax last Sunday.
It was a strong Barrow side who were giving full respect to the competition, whereas the Bulls had ten debutants in their side with an average squad age of 20 years and 6 months, the youngest ever fielded Bulls side. Bradford coach Kear had seemingly decided that this wasn’t the competition for them in 2019.
A Wednesday night game in Cumbria harked back a few decades and with the Bulls appearing to just make up the numbers, it was the home side who were firm favourites for the win.
The opening exchanges were littered with mistakes from both sides.
On twenty-two it was the Bulls who opened the scoring as Pickersgill chased his own kick, which rebounded off a post pad, back into his hands for him to step over the try line and ground the ball. Alix Pickersgill added a simple conversion for a 6-0 lead for the visitors.
Just after thirty-two Barrow got their opening points when Alec Susino took a Nathan Mossop pass to crash the line and stoop to ground the ball. Jamie Dallimore hit the post with the conversion, the Cumbrians still two points adrift.
Despite concerted Barrow pressure the Bulls held onto their lead until the interval, going into the sheds 6-4 ahead.
Just ninety seconds after the restart the Raiders were ahead thanks to a low centre of gravity scoot from Jono Smith, bumping through four attempted tackles to ground on the line. Dallimore was this time accurate with the boot, Barrow 10-6 ahead.
Two minutes later and Barrow were in again. This time Smith was the provider as he put in a long pass to Brett Carter to go over unopposed in the corner. Dallimore was unable to convert from the touchline but Barrow were looking like a different side in the second half.
It was three tries in the opening nine minutes as a long ball from Dallimore allowed Jarrad Stack to step off both feet, mesmerising the Bulls defence, to score. Dallimore converted from the touchline for 20-6, the Raiders had stunned their opponents with an excellent ten minutes.
A Smith break for thirty metres found Daniel Toal in support who showed a nice dummy and step to go in from twenty-five metres to ground under the sticks. Dallimore added the conversion for 26-6.
If there had been any doubt earlier, a solo try from Jake Spedding on seventy-one finally extinguished any Bulls hopes of a comeback. Taking the ball on the half way line he ran the angle and sprinted for the line. Dallimore added the conversion from under the uprights for 32-6.
Dallimore rounded off the scoring on seventy-seven when he broke the line and scored from thirty-five metres out, grounding one-handed under the crossbar. He added the conversion himself for 38-6.
Deon Cross completed the scoring from short range after intense pressure on the Bulls line. Dallimore added the conversion, but Barrow weren’t done.
A double kick forward by Dallimore on eighty minutes saw Spedding pick up the loose ball before passing to Dallimore to ground. The kicker added the conversion to bring up the fifty points and seal a comprehensive victory for the home side.
The youngsters from Bradford did very well in the first half and were still in the game after forty, but a second half of seven unanswered tries, and forty-six points, saw Barrow swamp the visitors and race away to a comprehensive win. It was obvious from the team selections that the Bulls came to blood a few youngsters rather than progress in the competition, whereas the Raiders took the game seriously and put out a strong squad to progress into the draw for the third round.
Raiders: Ritson, Carter (T), Stack (T), Amean, Cross (T), Dallimore (2T, 7G), Puara, Johnson, Mossop, Walne, Smith (T), Morrow, Aspinwall. Subs: Spedding (T), Walker, Toal (T), Susino (T).
Bulls: Brown, Stephenson (G), Culling, Butterworth, Rickett, Pickersgill (T), Green, Magrin, Boyle, Bustin, Gallagher, Roche, Scurr. Subs: Berry, Lightowler, Foster, O’Hanlon.
Referee: James Child.