Barrow Raiders’ new initiatives to increase attendances saw nearly 2,000 fans come to the club’s first home game since lockdown restrictions were lifted.

Fans were able to enter the Matt Johnson Prestige Stadium for free before 1pm, while the club’s community team put on activities for children and families from 10am on the pitch.

This saw an official attendance of 1,915 inside the ground to enjoy Barrow’s 44-8 victory over North Wales Crusaders to continue their unbeaten start to the 2021 League One season and remain at the top of the table.

Chairman Steve Neale said: “A lot of people took the chance and came in before one and after the game lots of spectators stayed until late. The place was bouncing the whole day.

“It was just one big celebration party being our first game since covid restrictions eased a little. It was a fantastic atmosphere around the ground. I was absolutely delighted.

“It was also great to see a lot of people involved in the community games pre-kick-off. There seemed to be a lot of people there who are new to the sport, so hopefully we can get them coming back and it was great to see a rugby ball in their hands.

“We’ve had some fantastic feedback from fans with the direction of the club. On the pitch, the team went really well, if there is such a thing as a perfect performance, we came close.

“That’s something to build on now. We’re definitely looking to increase crowds even more post-covid. We have so much work to do with sponsors, ticket distribution throughout the town and south Cumbria. We’re going to make our mark and are determined to be top five in attendances outside the Super League.”

The club have already confirmed that they will host the same special offer for when Rochdale Hornets visit on Saturday June 12, with the game brought forward to accommodate a screening of England’s Euro 2020 game against Croatia on Sunday June 13.

Neale added: “Looking ahead to Rochdale which is a Saturday and then the Euros on the Sunday on the big screen which is almost sold out. The big screen came early and was installed on Friday, so we had the Champions League final on Saturday night, so the place was packed Saturday night as well.

“We can’t wait to see everyone back down on June 12 for the visit of the Hornets.”