BARROW RAIDERS 36 COVENTRY BEARS 18
ANY Barrow Raiders fan expecting an easy match against Coventry Bears would have left Craven Park with a completely different view after yesterday’s friendly.
Although the outcome could have been tight had no changes been made, it was never in doubt once coach Paul Crarey unleashed some of his big guns.
Before then, Coventry put Barrow to the test, especially in the first half, where they held the lead until the final few minutes of the pre-season clash.
But Crarey should be applauded for using the game to put some of his fringe players to the test against a side determined to prove they had not just headed to Cumbria for a visit.
Barrow were given a rude awakening as Coventry soon slipped into gear, and they took the lead In the third minute when Lewis Charnock scored in the corner with Will Roper kicking the first of two conversions.
It was the wake-up call Barrow required as they reduced the arrears with winger Shane Toal outpacing the Bears defence to complete a fine, flowing move.
However, Coventry regathered to carve an opening through a lack lustre defence with centre Cian Timmins scoring between the posts, leaving Roper an easy task.
That signalled a series of changes from the Barrow bench with Oliver Wilkes being joined by Nathan Mossop and the hooker quickly put his side back into contention after finishing off a move involving James Duerden and Ryan Johnston, who was making his first senior start.
Brad Marwood slotted over the goal and Barrow were within two points of the visitors.
Joe Bullock and Jamie Dallimore were on the field when Barrow took the lead thanks to impressive full-back Luke Cresswell, who weaved his way through Coventry’s defence to score with Marwood adding the extras.
Half-back Lewis Charnock, who came on after the break, quickly showed his authority, and a clever dab forward saw the ball bounce off the post protector with the Raiders stand off gathering to score and then adding the kick.
Johnston, back on the field in a wing position, further added to Coventry’s woes with a touchdown in the corner.
Barrow continued to boss the second half as Chris Fleming struck from close range.
Coventry then created something out of virtually nothing when centre Matt Reid was allowed to touch down despite the attention of the Barrow defence, with Lewis Fairhurst kicking the extras.
But powerful forward Bullock forced his way over to wrap up the win for Barrow.
BARROW RAIDERS: Luke Cresswell, Shane Toal, Declan Hulme, Danny Morrow, Chris Fleming, Ryan Johnston, Brad Marwood, Brad Brennan, Dan Abram, Andrew Dawson, Dan Toal, Matty While, James Duerden. Subs: Nathan Mossop, Oliver Wilkes, Martin Aspinwall, Bradd Crellin, Joe Bullock, Ethan Kelly, Jamie Dallimore, Lewis Charnock.
COVENTRY BEARS: Will Roper, Jamahl Hunte, Matt Reid, Cal Becket, Hayden Freeman, Lewis Fairhurst, Cian Timmins, Alex Beddoes Bill Gaynor Jack Morrison, Grant Beecham, Chris Barratt, Elliot Davies. Subs: Brad Smith, Keiran Sharratt, John Aldred, James Geurtjens.
Referee: John McMullen.