It was a Cumbrian derby in the fifth round of the Betfred Challenge Cup 2022 as the Championship’s surprise package, the newly promoted Barrow Raiders faced a Workington Town side who are currently winless and languishing at the bottom of the Championship table.
While the sides have yet to meet in the league, Barrow did pick up a win in pre-season friendly back in January. Barrow beat the Rochdale Hornets in the last round while Workington knocked out the Dewsbury Rams with a 26-12 home victory.
While both sides were keen to secure a place in the last sixteen of the Challenge Cup there was more to play for than just cup progress as the two local rivals met.
Jarrod Sammut rebounded, with force, off the post-pad on two minutes, but two tackles later a short pass from Carl Forster was hit at speed by Tom Hopkins to crash over. Sammut added the conversion to give Barrow a 6-0 lead after four minutes.
Barrow were having most of the ball and the best of the field position but on eighteen minutes Connor Fitzsimmons collected a Jamie Doran grubber and shake off a tackle and ground behind the sticks. Carl Forber added the conversion to level the scores.
On twenty-six, as Lee Postlethwaite took a towering kick, he was clattered by Nathan Mossop who was shown the yellow card by referee Ben Thaler, as Postlethwaite was helped from the field.
Workington were in the lead on thirty-three when Jamie Doran sold the dummy and crashed through the Barrow defence to ground. Forber added the conversion for a surprise 12-6 lead.
Jamie Doran kicked a 40-20 with a couple of minutes left on the clock and from the play the ball Malik Steele took the ball and charged over from ten metres out. Forever added the conversion for 18-6 and it was no more than the Workington performance in the second part of the first half deserved.
Barrow were back in the game just before the interval after a sensational flowing and passing move was held just short of the line, but a fast play-the-ball saw Ryan Johnston over the line. Sammut added the conversion, and the arrears were down to six points.
The pressure was almost constant from Barrow at the start of the second half and on fifty-three Jarrod Stack took on the Workington defence to muscle over the line. Sammut pushed his conversion attempt wide of the far post, the Raiders now just two adrift.
A moment of Sammut magic saw Barrow regain the lead on sixty-three as he wove his way through a tiring Workington defence to ground under the sticks. He added the conversion himself for a 22-18 lead, Barrow edging their way into the last sixteen.
Tee Ritson sealed the Barrow win on seventy-three when he took a fast pass from Hakim Miloudi and beat his opposing winger to dive in and get the ball on the ground by the corner flag. Sammut couldn´t add the conversion from the touchline but Workington were left needing two converted tries in the last six minutes after they´d been kept scoreless for forty minutes.
An incredible length of the field move, involving half a dozen Barrow players, ended with Sammut going over for his second try of the afternoon to dot down under the sticks. The experienced half back added the extras himself for a 32-18 win.
Perry Singleton was sin-binned in the dying seconds for a high tackle, the last action of the game.
Barrow got a real fright in the first half after initially taking the lead and looking in full control in the early stages. It was all Workington for a thirty-minute spell during which they gained a commanding lead but a great fightback from the home side started just before the break and saw them take full command of the game.
Barrow Raiders: Cresswell, Ritson (T), Miloudi, Toal D, Toal S, Sammut (2T, 4G), Johnston (T), Forster, Wood, Gillam, Hopkins (T), Stack (T), Iaria. Subs: Mossop (SB on 28), Emslie, Brooks, Morrow.
Workington Town: Thomas, Young, Clegg, Bickerdike, Teare, Doran (T), Forber (3G), Fitzsimmons (T), Simons, Clarke, Singleton (SB on 80), Steele (T), Brown. Subs: O´Donnell, Hutchings, Olstrom, Postlethwaite.
Score Progression: 4-0, 6-0, 6-4, 6-6, (SB), 6-10, 6-12, 6-16, 6-18, 10-18, 12-18 : HT : 16-18, 20-18, 22-18, 26-18, 30-18, 32-18 : FT .
Referee: Ben Thaler.