Luke Cresswell excited for Raiders’ growth in 2023

Full-back Luke Cresswell has reflected on Barrow Raiders’ achievements this year following a successful return to the Betfred Championship. 

Paul Crarey’s side finished fourth at the end of the regular season and were named Betfred Championship Club of the Year at the league’s recent awards ceremony. 

Cresswell, 27, made 32 appearances in all competitions, scoring 12 tries for the Raiders.

Since his debut in 2016, he has now made 94 appearances for the club in total.

As he nears a century of Raiders appearances, Cresswell has expressed his gratitude for the season he has recently enjoyed in a Raiders shirt.

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“It’s been great for the club all-round,” he said. “When you achieve what you’ve achieved this year, the club has to have done a really good job. 

“Everyone has been brilliant all year, and that includes the staff, volunteers and supporters. 

“It’s special for the fans because they support us through thick and thin.

“Especially at home, we’ve had over 2,000 each week, so it’s been a great club to be a part of in 2022.”

Luke Cresswell at the Raiders’ recent awards evening.

Cresswell also obtained individual honours, receiving Supporters’ Player of the Year and BBC Radio Cumbria’s Player of the Year at the club’s presentation evening last weekend. 

“It means quite a lot to me,” he added. “My dad used to take me every Sunday to watch the rugby, so it’s a fantastic achievement personally.”

Despite falling short in the play-offs after an agonising 18-8 defeat to Batley Bulldogs in their elimination clash, Cresswell believes the club has far surpassed expectations this year under the watchful eye of Betfred Championship Coach of the Year Paul Crarey.

“It was amazing,” he reflected. “When you look at the past when we’ve been in the Championship, we’ve struggled in a lot of games and taken a lot of heavy defeats.

“It felt amazing to be part of a team going into every game knowing we could potentially win, and confidence bred confidence.

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“It doesn’t always happen in sport, so it was a great feeling. We still probably don’t realise how good it was.”

The Raiders have already invested in their squad ahead of the 2023 season, confirming the arrival of Salford Red Devils duo Greg Burke and Jack Wells, as well as Bradford Bulls prop Ben Evans.   

Looking ahead to the new campaign, Cresswell hopes to build on their success and mount another play-off challenge.

“I think we’ve got good structures in place and a good base of local and travelling lads,” he said.

“It looks like we’re going to keep that in place for next year, and with the new additions coming in, we’ll be striving to improve again.”

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